The History Dish: Pear Ice

Three frozen baby food blobs of pear ice.

If you love eating things that are slimy and gross, you’ll love Pear Ice.

This recipe is the last in the triumvirate of pear creations selected on We Dig Plants.  This one was my pick; I loved it because it was so simple.  From Buckeye Cookery, published in 1877, the recipe read: “Grate, sweeten and freeze well flavored apples, pears, peaches or quinces.”  Easy.  And it sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy pure pear taste.

But at the same time, it doesn’t make sense that I picked this recipe.  I hate grating.  I hate trying to hold on to slippery things while grating them.  I hate trying to grate that last tiny nub and grating bits of my finger in the process.  Grating is tedious and boring and I hate it.

I pared and cored good-sized bartlett pears and grated them.  It gave me about two cups of baby food-esque pear squish.  To that, I added 1/2 cup of white sugar, which ended up being a little sweet.  1/4 cup is advisable.  Then I threw the goop into my ice cream maker and let it do its thing.

It was frozen in less than 30 minutes and I dipped my spoon in to get a taste.  The flavor was good, sweet and peary. But the texture was appalling.  Simultaneously slimy and gritty, I make a “blech” face every time I swallowed a spoonful.

My roommate/guinea pig Jeff didn’t mind it; in fact, he liked it and ate a whole bowl.  Go figure.  Perhaps it’s a better recipe for apples or peaches.

6 thoughts on “The History Dish: Pear Ice

  1. Useful thing I do that makes grating so much easier: Take the finger guard from my mandolin and use THAT with the grater. Haven’t shredded my fingers since.

  2. I am not sure about ices, Sarah. I made a lemon one with so much sugar that it wouldn’t freeze… remained kind of like thick icy syrup. It worked in a drink but left me wondering if ices are different from sorbets, which could be just drinks once upon a time and not just the frozen, non-milk dessert we are familiar with. Wish we could have some 19th c voices reporting on this… I have some vague memory I read something about it but can’t remember where!!

    • Maybe I should have tried to freeze it as a block instead of in the ice cream maker? I don’t know; I don’t think the texture of pears is ideal for this recipe.

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