Difficulty: Easy

Perhaps traditionally thought of as a summer dessert, sorbet is a wonderful dish to serve any time of year. Often appearing as part of French dinners as a palate cleanser, it’s also great as a light dessert to finish a meal with that lovely hint of sweetness without the heft of a heavy pudding. And to make it even more irresistible, Barbara de Nicolaÿ and Christine Toulier’s recipe for pear sorbet with a raspberry coulis couldn’t be simpler!


For the sorbet

  • 4 Williams pears, very ripe
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 3 ½ quarts/3.5 liters water
  • 1 cup/7oz./200g superfine sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, or a few drops of vanilla extract

For the coulis

  • 2 generous cups/14oz./400g raspberries, blended with ¼ cup/2oz./50g superfine sugar

To decorate

  • Fresh borage flowers or crystallized violets (optional)


1Peel and core the pears then chop into small pieces. Add the lemon juice to stop them turning brown.

2Blend the pear mixture to make a purée.

3In a heavy saucepan, boil the water, sugar, and vanilla together for 5 minutes to make a syrup, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. If using a vanilla pod, leave it in the syrup to infuse as it cools.

4Mix the pear purée with the cooled syrup, then pour into the ice cream/sorbet maker. Leave to churn for 20 minutes to obtain a smooth sorbet.

5Arrange scoops of sorbet on plates or in bowls, pour over the raspberry coulis, and sprinkle with a few borage flowers or crystallized violets, if desired.


Extracted from FRENCH CHÂTEAU LIVING: THE CHÂTEAU DU LUDE by Barbara de Nicolaÿ and Christine Toulier (Flammarion, 2017).


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