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Deliciously Light Lemon Sorbet

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Lemon Sorbet.Determined to make my own version of Buried Treasure, I doubled up on sorbets last week. I followed up a fantastic blackberry sorbet with this recipe for lemon sorbet. Both recipes come from David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop.

I was a little unsure of this recipe at first, given that my other recipe for Meyer Lemon Sorbet just about reverses the water to lemon juice ratio. How would this recipe with half as much lemon juice fair?

To my surprise, this sorbet was just fine with only 1 cup of lemon juice. It was lighter than the other lemon sorbet recipe I make (which I still love for the powerful lemon flavor) and is more suited to pairing with other foods. This was rather fortuitous since I wanted to combine it with the blackberry sorbet. The two sorbets marbled together were just divine and I can’t help myself from having seconds every time I have it for dessert.

For this batch I wandered off into the other room while the ice cream maker was running and when I came back it was more than ready. In fact, it was practically fluffy. My newer ice cream maker is more powerful than my old machine so it just plugged away rather than grinding and screeching when it was getting thick. Even with the limoncello I added, it was still fluffy—almost like snow. To remedy this texture I let the sorbet soften a little bit and worked with a spoon to smooth it out, returning it to a perfectly smooth texture.

One of these bloggers is doing his own thing
YouTube: Cookie Monster: One of these things doesn't belong.Unrelated, I am getting some pressure from a couple other bloggers, Lisa and Chris, to bring some chocolates to the next Lunch 2.0 event at Ning’s next week. Although warm weather conspired against me to make chocolate molds earlier last month, and various home improvement projects have strung me along through June, I still have 7 pounds of chocolate that I have to do something with. I’ve definitely been the oddball food blogger at past Lunch 2.0 events (it’s primarily tech-oriented), but it’s actually fun to say you are a food blogger when everyone else is geeking out. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to make me less of a geek. Apparently having any blog is pretty nerdy.

Ingredients for making Lemon Sorbet.

Add grated lemon zest to sugar and water.

Heat mixture until sugar is dissolved.

Add remaining water, lemon juice and limoncello to sugar syrup and chill in ice bath.

Once sorbet base is colder than 45° F, freeze in ice cream maker per your maker’s instructions.

Transfer lemon sorbet to dedicated container to ripen in freezer for several hours.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery, can be found on the Lemon Sorbet recipe page.

Perfect Scoops of Blackberry Sorbet

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Blackberry Sorbet.

After reading David Lebovitz’s scoop-endous list of blogs that feature recipes from his book, The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments, I decided I had to order a copy for myself. It arrived in the mail last week and I eagerly flipped through 246 pages of fantastic recipes and photos. The book has great information about equipment and technique in addition to the extensive assortment of recipes that go well beyond frozen treats. These additions include recipes for toffee, candies fruits, ice cream cones and more; all sorts of things you would expect to accompany your ice cream dessert at a nice restaurant. If you don’t have a book on ice creams—or if you already have more than 10—I highly recommend this one. Great job, David!

If you are in the San Francisco bay area and would like to meet David in person, tickets are still available for his class/demo on June 22 at Draeger’s Cooking School. I’ll be there, too, of course. If you reside elsewhere, check out David’s schedule for an appearance near you. I’m looking forward to seeing him make parsley ice cream (recipe also in The Perfect Scoop), since I wouldn’t have the balls to make an ice cream with parsley on my own.

The first recipe I made from David’s book was Blackberry Sorbet (open your books to page 126, please). I love berries and any ice cream that I get to use my chinois is even better. Coaxing the blackberry puree through the chinois was more work than it was with raspberries, which surprised me. Like the raspberry sorbet I make, I ended up with a heaping 1/4 cup of seeds, so don’t skip using a sieve, strainer or chinois. Since this is a no cook recipe and the amount of lemon juice required is small, it actually assembles very quickly.

The finished sorbet recipe has a beautiful, deep red hue and tastes as good as it looks. I added a little Chambord and limoncello to the recipe since I am hooked on alcohol in sorbets. The resulting flavor is deliciously intense so I considered other flavors to pair it with. Realizing that this sorbet was a key ingredient in my current favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s sorbet, Berried Treasure, I decided I would make David’s recipe for lemon sorbet for my next post.

Ingredients for making Blackberry Sorbet.

Purée sugar, water and blackberries in blender.

Pour purée into sieve, strainer or chinois to remove seeds.

Add lemon juice, Chambord and limoncello and transfer to ice batch to chill.

Once sorbet base is colder than 45° F, freeze in ice cream maker per your maker’s instructions.

Transfer frozen sorbet to dedicated container to ripen in freezer for several hours.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery, can be found on the Blackberry Sorbet recipe page.

So simple and quick it must be Mango Sorbet

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Mango Sorbet.Another sorbet recipe??! OK—I promise I’ll lay off sorbets for a while. In fact, expect a chocolate post very soon, but I digress. When I was buying ingredients for raspberry sorbet last week I also picked up some nice mangoes. After a week, they were getting very ripe, so it was time to put them to good use. When I first started making ice creams with regularity in the mid 1990’s, mango sorbet was one of the first sorbets I made. I dug up the recipe again, from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library book, Ice Creams & Sorbet. Their recipe calls for corn syrup, which has been getting a lot of bad press in the last few years. Check out the Accidental Hedonist’s post about some of the issues around high fructose corn syrup. Although you won’t be able to talk me out of using corn syrup for classic cream caramels, I wanted to find a recipe that didn’t call for any.

What do other people do?
A quick search on the web revealed more than half a dozen recipes that differed mainly in the ratio of sugar to water. The Williams-Sonoma recipe didn’t call for any water—just a little corn syrup—so I was surprised to see other recipes that called for equal parts water and mango puree. All that water made me worry the sorbet would be icy. A few recipes included a little lime or lemon juice as well, which interested me, since I am hooked on liqueurs in sorbets to promote softness and I have plenty of limoncello left.

Putting it all together
I started with 2 cups of mangoes, 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water, with 3 tablespoons of limoncello. The resulting mixture was incredibly thick, so I added another 1/2 cup of water and ended up with equal parts water and sugar after all! I knew the limoncello would help keep the sorbet soft. Speaking of the alcohol, I was worried the limoncello would stand out too much, but you could barely tell it was there. The resulting sorbet was delightful with a rich mango flavor while not too sweet.

Wow, that was pretty quick and easy!
I was surprised at how quickly and easily this mango sorbet recipe came together. Although I strained the mango puree out of habit, it wasn’t necessary and the chinois was left empty. There is also no cooking for this recipe (some recipes called for simple syrup or other sugar syrup reductions) so it is incredibly quick to make since all the ingredients can be dumped into the blender. What took the longest was figuring out how to slice the mangoes because I don’t really eat mangoes much and these were very ripe. Fortunately, Coconut & Lime has a great overview of choosing and cutting a mango.

Ingredients for making Mango Sorbet.

Slice mangoes to remove skin and seed.

Add mangoes, sugar, water and limoncello to blender and purée.

Pour sorbet base into ice cream maker and freeze per your maker’s instructions.

Chill mixture in ice bath until colder than 45° F.

Once sorbet has finished churning, transfer to dedicated container to ripen in freezer.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery, can be found on the Mango Sorbet recipe page.

Raspberry Sorbet with citrus and Grand Marnier

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Raspberry Sorbet.This raspberry sorbet recipe combines fresh raspberries, orange juice, lemon juice and Grand Marnier to create an amazing sorbet you will want to keep all to yourself. Nevertheless, I did make a double batch for a potluck at work several years ago and received many compliments and an empty container.

Each ingredient in this recipe has a job to do. The lemon juice promotes the taste of freshness while the orange juice softens the tartness of the raspberries. To finish it off, the Grand Marnier adds complexity to the finish while keeping the sorbet on the soft side in the freezer. This is definitely the best raspberry sorbet I have ever had.

This recipe is based heavily on the raspberry sorbet recipe from Lou Seibert Pappas’ book, Sorbets and Ice Creams: and Other Frozen Confections. I highly recommend this book; all the recipes have ingredient lists you could count on one hand, with the word “fresh” preceding nearly every ingredient. I have slightly upped the Grand Marnier and substituted Meyer lemons since I like the Grand Marnier to show through just a tiny bit. And as for the Meyer lemons—that’s just the way I roll.

I prefer a silky smooth sorbet so I strain the pulp from the lemon and orange juices, but you could skip this step if you like a little pulp. Removing the seeds from the raspberries is a must—I measured the leftover seeds in the chinois this time and found that 4 cups of raspberries contain just over 1/4 cup of seeds. The next time I make strawberry ice cream I’ll be sure to measure the leftover seeds in the chinois as there were a lot of seeds. I understand that most people use a chinois for soups and sauces, but in the ten years I have owned a chinois it has yet to swallow a savory food. If you don’t have a chinois—which is understandable as they can be a little pricey—you can use a mesh sieve.

I served these with a lemon Loacker wafer, which highlighted the subtle lemon flavor in the sorbet. I tossed in a few raspberries for the photo, but they just got in the way of my spoon as it went in for more sorbet.

Ingredients for making Raspberry Sorbet.

Rinse raspberries in cool water and gently towel dry.

Purée raspberries in blender until smooth, about one minute.

Pour raspberry purée into chinois to remove seeds.

Juice about three oranges to yield 1 cup of orange juice.

Juice about two lemons to yield 1/3 cup of lemon juice.

Add sugar to juices and raspberry purée and mix until well blended.

After chilling in ice bath and adding Grand Marnier, pour mixture into ice cream maker.

Freeze according to your maker’s instructions and then transfer to dedicated container to ripen in freezer.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery, can be found on the Raspberry Sorbet recipe page.

Meyer Lemon Sorbet with Limoncello

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Meyer Lemon Sorbet.

I first made this sorbet last week, following the recipe for italian lemon sorbetto in Elsa Petersen-Schepelern’s book, “Gelato, Sorbets and Ice Creams.” To this recipe I added 1/4 cup of limoncello and substituted Meyer lemons to yield a sorbet that simply screamed, “MEYER LEMON!!” Although delicious, the first bite left you with puckered lips. After a few more spoonfuls I got over the initial shock, but would anyone but a citrus fiend be able to handle it?

The taste test
I feared tasters would respond like my daughter, who doesn’t like to admit when she doesn’t like something others do. Sure enough:

“Mmmm, I like it,” she says after tasting it, rubbing her tummy.

I then ask, “Do you want another bite?”

“No,” she replies, shaking her head. With only 1/2 cup of water to dilute the 2 cups of lemon juice, it was no wonder why. I can’t help but wonder how sour the recipe would have been with eureka or other common store-bought lemon varieties. I wanted to make this recipe again with some changes, but I needed more lemons.

Meyer Lemons.Musical chairs with Meyer lemons
Every Tuesday my son and I go to his violin and my viola lesson. We typically arrive a few minutes early and sit outside next to a fabulous Meyer lemon tree while another student (the oldest of whom is half my age) finishes their lesson. This week, in addition to the usual black viola case, I brought a small cooler with a sample of this sorbet for my teacher. Like last week, once our lessons were over, we filled a plastic bag with more than a dozen lemons we picked from the tree. This is the same tree that produces the lemons in the limoncello I used for the sorbet. My teacher makes several gallons of limoncello every year and I have finally found a recipe that could exhaust my supply of limoncello.

The new and improved sorbetThe new and improved sorbet
Loaded up with more lemons, I decided I would make another batch of sorbet with some variations aimed at winning over less fanatic lemon lovers. A quick scan of other lemon sorbets in my library and online shows that 2 cups of juice to 1/2 cup of water is on the extreme side. I doubled the water to 1 cup and increased the sugar by 1/4 cup. Since I didn’t want to lose the subtle limoncello flavor, I increase the liqueur from 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Thanks to the alcohol, this sorbet does a great job resisting our frost-free freezer’s attempts to turn it into a block of ice. Even after a week, last week’s batch is still easy to scoop. This new batch of sorbet was slightly less yellow than last week’s batch, but the soft, smooth consistency is the same. The first spoonful doesn’t catch you off guard and you simply want more.

The bottom line
This lemon sorbet recipe is a winner. My daughter even asked for a bowl for dessert. This lemon sorbet tastes great alone but also pairs well with blueberries or strawberries—ever had fresh strawberry lemonade? Delicious! For this week’s presentation, I have been experimenting with the natural, diffuse lighting that comes into my kitchen in the mornings, especially since my light tent seems to suck at capturing subtle yellow hues (also: my hands aren’t really as red as they appear in some pictures!). I liked this picture so much I super-sized it.

Ingredients for making Meyer Lemon Sorbet.

Heat lemon zest, sugar and water over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute and then cool.

A citrus juicer is very handy when you need 2 cups of lemon juice.

Add limoncello to sorbet base and stir. Chill mixture in ice bath before freezing.

Pour sorbet base into ice cream maker and freeze. It will take longer to freeze than typical ice cream.

Sorbet will be a little softer than typical ice creams at this point.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery, can be found on the Meyer Lemon Sorbet recipe page.