September means shorter days and colder weather, but also delicious seasonal fruits like pears. Move over summer berries! For an out of the ordinary dessert to serve this autumn, try Poached Pears with Grana Padano Ice Cream.
Over the last few weeks I have experimented with savoury recipes featuring the three different vintages of Grana Padano cheese. I created a Grana Padano salad vinaigrette using the cheese aged between 16 and 20 months and Asparagus Frangipane Tarts filled with a cream of Grana Padano Riserva. For my third and last recipe in collaboration with Grana Padano, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and make a Grana Padano ice cream.
I have been making ice cream at home for the last couple of years and I find it one of the most gratifying desserts to make. Yes, it requires some effort and planning, it’s not something you can whip up for a last minute dinner party. But it is also better and cheaper than any store-bought ice cream, so it’s worth the time and effort.
Besides, homemade ice cream means that you can play around with ingredients to create unusual and exciting flavour pairings. Savoury cheese ice cream can be delicious and is also incredibly versatile as an appetiser, main course or dessert.
Grana Padano Ice Cream
Enjoy Grana Padano Ice Cream with rye bread and charcuterie for an impressive dinner starter; let it melt over a risotto or soup for a rich main course; pair it with seasonal fruit and honey for an extraordinary dessert. Whichever way you choose to serve this Grana Padano ice cream, it will undoubtedly wow your party guests.
Grana Padano is a hard, salty, cheese made from partially skimmed cow’s milk. It takes 2-4 weeks to make a wheel of Grana Padano and a minimum of 9 months to ripen the cheese before it can be sold. The younger Grana Padano cheeses are aged for 9-16 months and have a mild flavour, perfect to use in the ice cream recipe.
To give the ice cream a smooth texture and rich creamy flavour I used whole milk, double cream and ricotta, adding a splash of brandy liqueur to soften the tart cheese flavour. You can also add honey to the ice cream mixture to make it sweeter.
Poached Pears with Grana Padano Ice Cream
For the ice cream
- 250ml whole milk
- 100ml double cream
- 100g Grana Padano 9-month vintage
- 2 tbs brandy
- 250g ricotta
For the pears
- 1l water
- 200g granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split (optional)
- 4 hard pears, peeled
Prepare the ice cream one day ahead of serving. Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from the heat. Add the grated Grana Padano and stir until the cheese is fully melted into the milk.
Pour the mixture into a bowl to cool down completely. Add the brandy and the ricotta. Mix until you have a smooth cream without any lumps.
Transfer into the freezer bowl of an ice cream maker already switched on. Churn for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and creamy. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze overnight.
Peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact. Place them in a saucepan with one litre of water. Add the sugar and vanilla seeds, cover the pan, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the pears for about 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.
Serve warm with the Grana Padano ice cream.
Disclaimer: this post was written in collaboration with Grana Padano. All opinions are my own.