Each month, held alternately by Julia and Scott, there is an ‘in the bag’ challenge where three ingredients are suggested and you come up with a recipe including them. Initially I didn’t have the confidence, but after a little thought and settling on what I could do, I was really quite excited. January 2007’s ingredients were: pears, lemons and nuts of your choice. I sort-of imposed another requirement on myself: I wanted to offer it as the pudding for a coeliac friend who was cooking dinner, so it had to be gluten-free.
I wanted to do something sweet but the nuts really threw me off. I found some interesting pear/chestnut icecream recipes but they all required an icecream maker. Consulting my musty but trusty Marguerite Pattern book I found a recipe for kulfi, a rich almond icecream of Indian origin, which could be made wholly in the freezer. This recipe instantly gave me a good way to use nuts, and I could transform it by adding pear puree and the juice of a whole lemon. So I present my pear kulfi concoction, with slight pride that it throws up no other google results.
It is a little bit fiddly, but only in that it uses up a lot of bowls and so generates a bit of washing up. I strongly suggest rehearsing this recipe in your head to make sure you have all the pans to hand.
- 600 ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 g caster sugar
- 50 g ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
- 300 ml double cream
- juice of 1 lemon
- 4 pears
How to make it
First, you make an almondy custard. Put the eggs, egg yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl and whisk together until evenly blended. Put the milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the scalded milk slowly to the egg mix, stirring throughout. Stand the bowl over a pot of boiling water and stir until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cooled, stir in the ground almonds and almond essence.
Secondly for the pear and lemon puree. Peel, core and chop the pears. Dice into 1 cm squares or so and cook them until soft in a pan with a dash of water. Drain, then puree the pears. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the pan and stir.
Whip the cream to soft peaks, then incorporate the pear puree. Finally fold the cream/puree mix into the cool custard. Pour into a container (make it a 2 litre tub) and pop in the freezer to do its thing.
Take the icecream out about half an hour prior to serving, so it’s easier to scoop. Add some lemon zest and flaked almonds or pistachios to garnish.
Overall, the pear kulfi was absolutely delicious. The fruity/zestiness of the pear and lemon cut through the otherwise rich almond custard cream. The kulfi is smooth and the crystals turned out fairly small, but as always they could be smaller.