Monday, May 21, 2007

perfection is so rare

...but it's really what we're all after, isn't it?

My pear sorbet turned out amazing! Tasting the syrup, I was really worried about the anise flavor. It smelled bad. It tasted bad-way too sweet. I didn't want to churn it. Then I cut away the cores, churned the pears in my new Vita Mix blender (so hardcore! thanks to the roommates), peered at the mixture that looked suspiciously like baby food, glopped it into my adored Cuisinart maker, and hoped for the best.

It tasted like cream. And, in the frozne mixture, the worrisome anise faded into the background, and the weird fruitiness of the wine from the poaching syrup went away. This was a sorbet with bite. A sorbet to whip your ass. No graininess, crunchiness, just a grit on your tongue from the pear, to remind you of what you're eating. The roommate and I were both astonished that no dairy products were used. I just went out to eat more of it, and I can't pick out the individual flavors. Just a honeyed, almost caramel note on my tongue. Perfection. My first reaction was to stash the syrup so I can acquire more pears and make more, as if I'd created something dificult and rare when after all it's just pears, vanilla, spices and sugar.

I'd put the anise in the syrup in the first place, because I'm trying to understand the flavor. When good friends of mine are fanatic about a flavor, I like to try to get what draws them to it. I find it difficult to think about and analyze taste. The words slip away--so maybe I am, in fact, a very BAD food writer--and I'm left with abstract like cold/warm/minty/bitter/hot. Do I understand anise better? No, not yet. Do I understand sorbet, my pastry nemesis better? Reluctantly, no. How does poaching the pears impart enough sugar to the mixture? Isn't it too thick? However this is a step in my becoming more knowledgeable, I think I'll just eat the sorbet first and ask my questions later. And, as for Thomas Keller, I'll let this make up for the horrible dehydrated pepper blinis I sufffered through for the sake of TFL and savory cooking.

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