Frozen Pear and Coffee Tortoni with Hazelnut Praline:Sundae Greenstreet Reborn!

February 8, 2016
Frozen Pear and Coffee Tortoni with Hazelnut Praline:Sundae Greenstreet Reborn!

Author Notes:

When I came to college in 1971 in Cambridge (Boston) my favorite café was The Blue Parrot in Harvard Square, just down the alley from restaurant Casablanca. Many menu items there were nods to the classic film, as was my drink of choice, the Sundae Greenstreet, poached pears with coffee ice cream and Kahlua. I would never have thought to pair coffee with pears, but this dish showed me what a great combination it was.

This recipe is a riff on that, with a coffee flavored buttercream folded with whipped cream and frozen with alternating layers of hazelnut praline, and crowned with poached pears. Tortoni is traditionally made with almonds, but I particularly like the pairing of hazelnuts and coffee. While there are four different preparations involved , all are pretty simple, and you can quicken the dish by using only two.
Poached Pears
Hazelnut Praline
Coffee Tortoni
Coffee Syrup


Serves: 8-10


  • 4 ripe Anjjou or Bosc pears, cored, quartered
  • 4 cups coffee
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup skinned toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup White sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup well chilled heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons espresso powder(I use Medaglia d'Oro)
  • 6 Tablespoons brandy
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 cups coffee
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
In This Recipe


  1. Poached Pears: Rinse the pears well.Holding each upright, slice down closest to the core, then cut these slices into ~ 4 pieces each. Heat coffee and sugar util sugar melts. Add pears, top with a drop-lid or a round of parchment with a steam hole cut out of the middles.Cook over low heat til tender; remove from pan , add optional Poire William, and set aside to cool. Chop in 1/3 inch cubes.
  2. Coffee Hazelnut Praline: Spray a sheet pan and set aside. Combine espresso powder with 1 teaspoon of the 1 cup water- and moosh to dissolve. Simmer rest of water and sugar until sugar melts. Turn up heat to medium high.and let it bubble until it turns dark brown. Keep tilting and swiveling pan so sugar syrup doesn't get hot spots that burn. When it looks almost burnt, pour immediately onto sprayed sheet pan. Let cool completely, break up and grind in food processor (not too fine.) Set aside.
  3. Coffee Tortoni: Combine espresso powder with 1 teaspoon of the 1 cup water- and moosh to dissolve.In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water; bring to boil to dissolve the sugar, and boil 5 minutes. In a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks with a paddle til they are thick and very pale. On high speed, add the syrup in a thin stream, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, til mixture is cooled. Fold in COLD heavy cream, beaten in stand mixer with whisk -til soft peaks. Fold into yolks with dissolved coffee, and layer in parfait or wine glasses, alternating with 1/8" thin layers of praline.Top with tortoni , wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer 4 hours to 3 days. Unwrap, top with pears, drizzle with coffee syrup and serve.
  4. Coffee Syrup: In a small sauce pan, bring to boil brown sugar through water. Simmer , stirring constantly, 5 minutes.Remove from heat, add espresso powder dissolved in 1/8 cup hot water.

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