Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Blueberry Sorbet

I finally ran through all my ice cream.  It was embarrassing how much I had accumulated.  Looking for a lighter alternative, I found an article on sorbets and granitas.  They're very similar, but the process is different.  You don't need an ice cream maker for a granita, but I've got one and it might as well be doing something.  The problem with making a batch of granita is that it's going to freeze solid if you don't finish it that day.  Sorbets are a bit more forgiving.

To make this even less likely to fail, I added just enough vodka to make it almost impossible for the sorbet to freeze solid.  If you're serving this as an elegant dessert with a single scoop accompanied by something like a shortbread cookie or orange slices, no one is going to get more than a teaspoon of alcohol, or 1/6 of a shot.  If even this sounds like too much, omit the vodka and serve the sorbet within a day or two of making it.

This recipe is incredibly easy because the blender and ice cream maker do all the work.  If blueberries aren't in season, you can use any other berry.  Maybe try it with kiwi or mango.  The lemon juice should still be there to keep the colors and flavors bright.  A slight acidic tang gives the sorbet depth.

The base of this is a simple syrup, which is just equal parts sugar and water boiled together until the sugar dissolves.  This is great to have around in a squeeze bottle for iced tea, iced coffee, or any other time you wish sugar came in a liquid form.  It's stable at room temperature for several days, and over a week in the fridge.

1 C water
1 C sugar
1 dry pint blueberries
1/4 C lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
*2 Tb vodka

1.  In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching.  Turn off heat once sugar has dissolved and allow to cool to room temperature or below.

2.  In a blender, place washed fruit (remove any stems, they're sneaky), lemon juice, vodka, and the cooled simple syrup.  Cover and purée until fairly smooth.  There will still be bits of skin, but that adds character.

3.  Pour mixture into ice cream maker and run until mostly firm, about 20 minutes for the electric models.  Transfer into freezing container and freeze for at least 4 hours, until set.

4.  Serve in small portions in dainty bowls, maybe with silver spoons.  Make it an event.

Makes about one quart, depending on overrun

Difficulty rating  π

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