Spiced poached pears & ice cream

by Katherine Frelon

Hibiscus honey-glazed fruit with homemade, olive oil ice cream


8 slightly under-ripe medium pears, peeled, bases trimmed so they can stand up straight, peelings reserved
2 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
6 tbsp runny honey
2 lemons, juiced
3 tbsp sugar
1 star anise
1 green cardamom pod
½ vanilla pod
1 small piece of cassia bark or cinnamon

For the olive oil ice cream:
250ml milk
250ml double cream
125g sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out and reserved
6 egg yolks
25g flour
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

Ice cream maker


To cook the pears, place all the ingredients in a pan, and submerge the pears in water. Cover with a lid and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 30-40 mins, until the pears are just softening but still holding their shape. Remove the pears and reduce the syrup by half, stirring occasionally to prevent the spices from sticking to the base of the pan, then reserve.

To make the ice cream, take a saucepan and bring the milk, cream, half the sugar, vanilla pod and seeds to a simmer, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for at least 5 mins.

In another bowl, whisk up the remaining sugar and the egg yolks, then whisk in the flour. Sieve the milky liquid and slowly add it to the bowl. Mix well and return the liquid to the pan. Place over the heat again and stir constantly until the mixture has thickened, watching it doesn’t curdle. Once it has reached a custard consistency, remove from the heat and stir in the olive oil, then leave to cool.

When the mix is cold, churn it in an ice cream maker until thick and creamy. I prefer to serve this straight away, but you can freeze it until needed—just make sure you take it out of the freezer 15 mins or so before you need to serve it, so it softens enough to spoon out. Sprinkle with the sea salt before serving.

To serve: place a warm pear on a serving plate or bowl, pour over a little syrup and place a scoop of ice cream next to the pear. You could decorate with a sugared mint or verbena leaf—brush the leaves on both sides with lightly whisked egg white and then dip in vanilla sugar, shake off any excess and leave to dry on a kitchen towel until crisp.

Recipe: Katherine Frelon