The combination of pear and vanilla bean is a treat for the taste buds. This indulgent pear ice cream recipe combines fresh, juicy pears with smooth and creamy vanilla bean ice cream.
To begin, make the vanilla bean ice cream base. Once complete, start chilling the mixture and work on the pears.
What you’ll need
For the ice cream base:
- 1½ cups full cream milk: Skim milk won’t have enough fat
- 1½ cups thickened cream: Use whipping cream
- ¾ cup sugar: Regular (granulated) works well
- 6 egg yolks: Choose large eggs
- 1 pinch salt: Kosher is preferable to harsh table salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence: Adds more vanilla depth to the dessert
- 1 vanilla bean: Found in the baking aisle with the regular vanillas
For the pears:
- 4 pears: Ripened, in-season fruit offers the best flavour
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp butter
Making the ice cream base
- Heat milk, cream, and sugar in a saucepan over a medium-high heat until simmering, then remove from heat.
- Whisk yolks in a bowl until pale, then slowly pour in one cup of hot milk while whisking.
- Slowly pour the yolks back into the milk saucepan and whisk until combined.
- Add salt, vanilla essence, scraped vanilla bean, and vanilla pod. Continue heating on medium heat until liquid thickens (about 3 minutes).
- Pour liquid into an airtight container and add to the fridge for 3 hours (or overnight).
How to prepare the pears
Four pears are a good amount for making one litre of ice cream.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Peel and core the fruits, then halve them and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
- Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar onto the pears, then lightly drizzle the honey.
- Add dots of butter over the pears and cover with foil.
- Roast for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Bringing it all together
- Once properly chilled, pour the custard base through a strainer and add to an ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- As the ice cream thickens, blend pear halves into a paste and add to the dessert. You can also cube the pears into small pieces.
- Once fully churned, scoop everything into an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours.
Related recipe: Vanilla bean ice cream
Why roast the pears?
There are two reasons to roast pears:
- It allows the honey and cinnamon to get absorbed by the fruit.
- It reduces the water content in the pears.
What pears are best for ice cream?
Pears are cheap here in Australia; you can enjoy them most of the year. I used Packham pears, but you can check out these pear types to learn about the varieties and when they’re in season.
How big should the pear pieces be sliced?
Smaller pieces are best for ice cream, as pears contain water that turns icy and hard once frozen. Using small bits or blending the fruit into a paste will add delicious flavour with less iciness.
Tips for making better ice cream
- This dessert can’t be rushed. The fruit and ice cream base must be completely cooled before proceeding.
- For best results, chill the spatula and freezer-proof storage container in the freezer for half an hour.
- If vanilla beans are too expensive or hard to find, use vanilla extract as a substitute.
This ice cream is perfect on its own or served on top of your favourite warm winter pie.