For the month of November, we have asked some of our favorite food bloggers to share recipes for their must-have Thanksgiving dishes. Join us to see what will be on their tables this year and for years to come.
Pear Sorbet by Tim from Lottie & Doof
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but I am not a traditionalist when it comes to the meal. In recent years I have gone as far as not serving turkey. I find turkey a little boring and thought it would be fun to mix it up. It was a controversial decision, and although everyone agreed that my beef tenderloin was better than any turkey they had ever had, they still wanted the bird. I am obliged to comply because I love these people, as silly as their food preferences are. And besides, when it comes down to it, aren’t we all more interested in the sides and dessert anyway? In my case, I am most interested in the desserts.
It is the perfect time for baking in the Midwest. Winter is quickly approaching but we are all still enjoying the novelty of being indoors, wearing sweaters, and complaining about the chill. A couple of years ago I started serving several dessert courses. Why not? It is too hard to pick just one thing to serve! I like to start with a sorbet. Sorbets aren’t something that we normally associate with Thanksgiving, but they provide a refreshing transition from the heavy meal to the…heavy desserts.
There is no better sorbet to make than this pear sorbet which tastes like taking a bite of a sweet ripe pear. It is absolutely exceptional, simple to prepare, can be made in advance, and should find its way to your Thanksgiving table this year. For those of you without an ice cream maker, feel free to make this as a granita (instructions below). Like all recipes with few ingredients, quality is very important. Make this when you find yourself with exceptionally delicious pears—they need to be very ripe and juicy.
(inspired by a Canal House Cooking recipe)
6 ripe, juicy, ripe, flavorful pears
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pear brandy
1. Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
2. Peel, quarter and core the pears. Puree the pears in a food processor until smooth, then transfer the pear puree to a medium bowl. Stir in the simple syrup and the pear brandy.
3. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet into an airtight container with a lid and place in the freezer for a few hours to firm up. Will keep for at least a week.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker:
Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish and place on a level surface in your freezer. After an hour, remove and use a fork to scrape any ice crystals that have formed on the sides or bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the freezer and repeat scraping every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours. Once mixture is thoroughly frozen, fluff with a fork and serve.
Tim Mazurek is the blogger behind Lottie + Doof where he explores his love of cooking, hosting, and the politics of food. Based in Chicago, he also has a fantastic guide to eating in the Windy City.
(recipe and image courtesy of Tim Mazurek)
Do you serve desserts other than pie at Thanksgiving? Would you consider a palate-cleansing course like this one?