YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Hot Pears Meet Ginger Ice Cream

March 12, 1997|BETTY ROSBOTTOM | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Rosbottom is a cooking school director and author of "American Favorites" (Chapters Publishing, 1996)

Desserts are my specialty and my favorite part of any meal. In hot weather months, I love icy-cold sorbets, ice creams perfumed with new flavors or well-chilled cheesecake mounded with fresh berries. During winter, warm robust desserts are standard at our table.

Recently, I invited several friends to a last-minute potluck supper, and I created a pear and apricot gratin baked under a crumbly nut crust, garnished with a small scoop of ginger ice cream that melted and served as a sauce.

I combined sliced pears and sliced dried apricots with sugar, spices, lemon juice and peel, and baked the mixture under a topping of toasted almonds, brown sugar, flour and butter. For the ginger ice cream, which took only minutes to prepare, I simply softened vanilla ice cream and stirred in grated ginger.

This winter sweet is a good choice to end a special dinner because much of the preparation can be done in advance. The fruit mixture and topping can be assembled in a baking pan and the ice cream flavored ahead. At baking time, the gratin is cooked unattended until the pears and apricots are tender and the crust is golden.


1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened

2 tablespoons grated ginger root

1 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch strips

5 large firm Bosc pears (2 to 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, stemmed, cored and cut into 3/8-inch slices

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Nonstick cooking spray

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed

Dash salt

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Mint sprigs, optional

Place softened ice cream in large bowl and stir in ginger. Cover and return to freezer to harden 1 hour. (Note: Ice cream can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep covered and frozen. Soften slightly before using.)

Soak apricot strips in 1 cup hot water 10 minutes. Drain.

Combine pear and apricot slices in large bowl. Mix together granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. Add to fruit and mix well. Stir in lemon peel and juice and mix well.

Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread fruit evenly in dish. Set aside.

Combine flour, brown sugar and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter using pastry blender or 2 table knives. Add almonds and mix well (mixture will be crumbly). Spread evenly over fruit. If not baking immediately, cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Bake gratin on middle rack at 350 degrees until fruit is bubbling and crust is lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Remove and cool 5 minutes.

Serve gratin warm. Top each portion with small scoop of ginger ice cream. Garnish each with mint sprig.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings:

450 calories; 150 mg sodium; 45 mg cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 66 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 2.51 grams fiber.

Los Angeles Times Articles