Cactus Pear Sorbet

Cactus Pear SorbetI had filed this recipe in my archives meaning to try it one day.  Today was the day!  I know it’s not your run-of-the-mill sorbet and that cactus pears are not are not as abundant as peaches or strawberries.  Everyone I shared this with loved it!  They loved that they had never tasted anything like this, but loved the flavor–so refreshing.

I have also used this recipe for ice pops–easier to eat and perfect for the kids!

So if you are like me and like to experiment with new things, I promise you will not be disappointed.  Learn how to peel them here.

If you have a cactus plant on your property, BEWARE.  Do not attempt to pick the prickly pears yourself unless you are an experienced hunter of sharp and prickly things.  You will be picking these things out of your skin for weeks!  I tell you this from experience.  You can find safe and “de-prickled” pears at  your local Mexican market from July through September.  Please don’t let this discourage you.  If you buy them at the market, no worries, and you will be happy you tried something new!  Let the adventure begin!

If you have never eaten a prickly pear, you  are in for a real treat!  The flavor is indescribable, but the closest I can come to describing it is a cross between a pear and a watermelon–but better!  Have I mentioned that they are my favorite fruit?  I bet you couldn’t tell.  Once you peel one, you will notice that there are small seeds thoughout it.  These are traditionally eaten with the fruit.  But for the purpose of making sorbet, I strained them out.  You will want to liquify the fruit after peeling it.

Prickly Pear Blender

Next, strain the juice into a bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.  Discard the seeds.

Prickly Pear Seeds


Doesn’t this look refreshing?

Prickly Pear PopAhhhhhh….

Cactus Pear Sorbet
Recipe type: Sorbet
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-10 servings
  • 10 cactus pears (about 4 pounds)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons lime zest
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • Juice of 1 fresh juicing orange
  • 3 tablespoons grenadine (optional)
  1. Skin and quarter the pears and toss them into a blender.
  2. Make a simple syrup by boiling ½ cup sugar with ½ cup water until sugar is dissolved. Add enough water to make 1 cup.
  3. Cool and add to the pears in the blender.
  4. Add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth.
  5. Strain the liquid into an ice cream freezer, catching all the seeds, and process for 30 minutes, following manufacturer's directions.
  6. You are now ready to scoop.
  7. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

Et cetera:  I shared this sorbet with my neighbor and he said this was “extraordinarily good”.  High praise, indeed.  I have to agree with him.  The grenadine gives it the pink color.  Or you can use any fruit juice you have on hand or nothing at all. The cactus pears are quite sweet on their own. Either way, this is a very refreshing treat on a hot day, of which we have many here in Southern California. I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Food Network.  Find it here.