Chef Jeremiah Tower believes he adapted this light, palate-cleansing dessert from a recipe by Franco-Brazilian chef Claude Troisgros. But he has made it for so long and in so many variations that he can't remember its exact origin any longer. The best pear brandy to use here is from the Etter distillery in Switzerland.
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6 ripe Comice or Bartlett pears
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pear eau-de-vie
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh or unsweetened frozen raspberries
1 1/2 pints pear sorbet
1/2 cup julienned organic rose petals
Peel the pears and brush them with the lemon juice; reserve the peels. Quarter and core the pears, then slice them lengthwise 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a large, shallow dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the pear eau-de-vie over the pears and add a pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the reserved pear peels, cover partially and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup and refrigerate until chilled.
Using a wooden spoon, press the raspberries through a fine sieve until smooth. Reserve the puree.
Scoop 1/4 cup of the pear sorbet into each of 12 shallow bowls. Spoon the chilled pears and pear syrup around the sorbet. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of eau-de-vie over the pears and dot each serving with 2 teaspoons of the raspberry puree. Garnish with the rose petals and serve.