Monday, September 14, 2009

Fresh fruit sorbet

I promised to tell you about the dessert we served at our end-of-summer feast, so here it is: raspberry lavender sorbet, lemon mint sorbet, and a parve ginger cookie from Trader Joe's. (We couldn't serve dairy after eating a meat meal, so this little cookie was the perfect choice to add some textural contrast to the dessert.) Simple, cool, refreshing, and fantastic.

The basic recipe for sorbet is very easy: heat one part water and one part sugar until dissolved, mix with one part fruit juice or pulp, and freeze. Done.

This ratio is endlessly adaptable to whatever fruits or herbs you happen to have on hand. I had a blackberry sage ice cream from Molly Moon's the other day--would be great as a sorbet! The best way to get the flavor of herbs without the little bits messing up your smooth sorbet is to steep the herbs in the sugar syrup as it heats, almost as if it were an herbal tea. Then strain it before you mix in the fruit juice.

So follow along with me here: First, I heated water, sugar, and a handful of lavender blossoms to make a lavender simple syrup.

While that was simmering, I blended up raspberries to make a pulpy juice.

Then I poured the syrup through a sieve to remove the lavender bits, mixed it with the berry mush, and poured that into a shallow dish to freeze.

See? Easy. One more time with different flavors: I made a mint simple syrup in the same way (but forgot to take a picture).

I wanted to up the lemon flavor, so I zested a lemon before juicing it.

Mixed together the mint syrup and lemon juice, poured into a shallow dish, and off into the freezer it went.

Again, easy peasy. The hardest part, if you could call it that, is the freezing process. You have to go back into the freezer and stir up your sorbet slush every 30 minutes or so, so that it freezes at the right consistency instead of becoming a solid block of fruit ice. It should be completely set in about two hours.

Take sorbet out of the freezer to thaw slightly before serving; this helps you scoop nice pretty spheres rather than just chip away at it.

Mmm, delicious.

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