This post was last updated on February 4th, 2014 at 10:30 am
Asian pears have never tasted “finished” to me. Surely they would taste better if not grown here in the Central Valley of California — perhaps grown in volcanic soil like the Napa Valley or in the coastal air of See Canyon near San Louis Obispo where so many remarkable apples appear each fall. I don’t know!
Last week I stumbled on a flat of those “unfinished” Asian pears for $3, grown in the Central Valley. It was time to figure out how to “finish” them. Being three dollars lighter, I sailed for home dreaming of what I might concoct.
It’s probably no coincidence that Asian pears and gooseberries reach maturity at the same time. They are amazing together! Gooseberry becomes the dominant note and color. The pears provide a bright juicy crunch, a perfect foundation for the intensity of the gooseberries–a jaw-dropping gourmet dessert creation.
If you have access to ripe red gooseberries, you must try this. It takes just a little time but is super simple. The secret is to have a stash of gooseberry syrup which is simple itself. Our stash sits as a collection of ice cubes in a freezer bag. Put together your own stash, if you can.
This dessert is made of slices of Asian pear, drizzles of gooseberry syrup, and a scoop of gooseberry ice cream. Assembly is quick and fun. You will feel like a food artist when you are done. And, your family will declare you to be a dessert genius.
- 1/2 Asian pear per serving
- 1 tablespoon Gooseberry Syrup per serving
- 1/3 cup scoop Gooseberry Ice Cream per serving
- Chill the serving dishes in advance. If your weather is hot, keep the dishes in the freezer until you are ready to assemble your masterpieces.
- Soften the Gooseberry Ice Cream just a bit before putting the desserts together. This is tricky. Depending on your ambient room temperature, the ice cream could go from brick hard to early stages of melting in about 5 minutes. Anyway, keep an eye. You can figure it out!
- Cut the pears in quarters and core them. Cut the quarters into thin slices. If the pears are large, cut the slices in half to make them shorter. You are looking for easy bite-size pieces of Asian pear.
- Divide the pear pieces among the dessert dishes.
- Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of Gooseberry Syrup over the pears in each dessert dish.
- Carefully place a scoop of the Gooseberry Ice Cream on each serving and then drizzle on the remaining Gooseberry Syrup. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and serve immediately.
- Get ready to hear many exclamations and compliments. While you may think of seconds on this dessert, give it 15 minutes to hit bottom. It is really more satisfying than it initially appears.
If you have any gooseberry syrup leftover — that tablespoon that you cannot waste — use it later as a dip for slices of Asian pear. So much for that “unfinished” feel on the pears!