Don’t be daunted by the extra steps for the mix-ins in this ice cream—the results are well worth the effort. “It tastes just like eating a pear upside-down cake a la mode,” says Gilbert, who came up with the recipe after a neighbor shared a harvest bounty. If you can’t find Asian pears, Bosc pears make a suitable substitute.
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Asian pears
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup diced crystallized ginger
1. Ice Cream: In a small bowl, whisk eggs and 1/2 cup sugar together until thickened and pale.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring cream and milk to a simmer. Slowly whisk half the heated liquid into the egg mixture to temper, then pour tempered egg mixture back into saucepan.
3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
4. Strain into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature, then stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. Caramel Pears: About an hour before churning, make the mix-ins. Peel pears and chop into 1/2-inch chunks.
6. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and cook until it starts to turn golden. Add pears, stirring to coat, and cook 10–15 minutes, or until golden brown and caramel has thickened.
7. Pour pears onto a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet to cool.
8. Pecans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg white, water and vanilla. Add chopped pecans and toss to coat.
9. In a large plastic bag, combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves and ground ginger. Add pecans and shake to completely coat nuts.
10. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Stir again and let cool completely.
11. When ready to make the ice cream, stir the ice cream base and pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add pears, pecans and crystallized ginger in the last few minutes of freezing. Scoop ice cream into freezer containers and let chill completely before serving.
Makes 1.5 quarts.
Crystallized ginger can be found in the spice section, but you can also leave it out.