Showing posts with label no cook sorbet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label no cook sorbet. Show all posts

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Porch Swing Sorbet

I come from a long line of tea-drinkers.  Most of the year, we gulp endless cups of hot tea.  And, in the summer, we almost always have a tall glass of iced tea within easy reach.  Nothing fancy, mind you.  Just pedestrian orange pekoe, often brewed by the heat of the sun.

One of my favorite summer treats was a "half and half" (now popularly called an "Arnold Palmer"):  a mixture of ice tea and lemonade.  The tea cuts the sweetness of the lemonade and provides a subtle, almost smoky complexity to the drink.  For me, it's singularly refreshing and conjures up images of lazy afternoons, lounging on my grandma's front porch, playing the occasional hand of euchre and just generally enjoying the company of family.

Recently, a good friend asked for a recipe for a frozen treat using lemons.  I confess, I've never made lemon ice cream.  But I dug up a recipe for lemon sorbet from Cook's Illustrated and passed it along.  The key to creamy sorbet is (a) don't skimp on the sugar and (b) add a tablespoon of liquor -- vodka is a good choice, because it doesn't have any flavor.  Both sugar and alcohol inhibit freezing, so your sorbet won't turn into a chunk of ice.

A Perfect Pairing
Basically, the recipe is 2 cups of fruit or juice + 1 c. sugar (more or less)* + 1 Tbs. vodka.  For most of the recipes, the 2 cups of liquid was fruit juice (or a juice blend); for lemon and lime sorbets, though, you use 1 part citrus juice to 3 parts water (so it's not too strong).  But there's a lot of room to play with that 2 cups of liquid ... any blend of juices would work, I think.  And you could infuse the juice with ginger or herbs.  Personally, I decided to swap out the water in the lemon sorbet with decaf iced tea.

* Cook's Illustrated offered half a dozen sorbet recipes, and they said the key is to use about 1/2 a cup of sugar per cup of fruit/liquid.  More tart fruit needs a little more sugar, sweeter fruit (like watermelon) requires a little less.  Lemon is pretty tart, so this recipe uses 1 1/4 c. sugar instead of just 1 cup.

Anyway, I decided to experiment, and the experiment was a huge success.  Some of the sorbet managed to hide in our freezer for a whole week, but we still scoopable and creamy when I pulled it out.  This sorbet is unusual, but so delicious.  And one spoonful took me back to my grandma's front porch.

Porch Swing Sorbet

1 1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 c. cold brewed tea (decaf is fine, the stronger the better!)
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 Tbs. vodka

Combine sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl.  Whisk in liquids until sugar dissolves.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, until completely chilled.  Strain to remove any bits of lemon pulp and the pieces of lemon zest.

Freeze liquid in an ice cream maker until the consistency of cake frosting.  Transfer to plastic container.  Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the sorbet, then seal with an air-tight lid.  Freeze about 3 hours (or more).


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's Hot! Cool Off With A Granita

You are most cordially invited to a party!

We're having a cookout!

Where? Right here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen

When? Next week, Monday through Saturday

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is proud and delighted to announce that it's our first anniversary! We're inviting you to a special cookout. Each day next week, our bloggers will create a special party dish just for our celebration. Not only that, but we'll be giving away a prize *each* day! And one special prize to celebrate our first year together. So put on your flip flops and sun hat, and come join the fun!

Cooling Off Without Cooking

It's hot everywhere. The mountains, the lake, the shore, we just can't escape it. It seems like all anyone wants is something cool and frosty. Now, I love ice cream. It's the perfect weather for ice cream, but not everyone has an ice cream maker. And there's that pesky little issue of all that fat in ice cream.

If you're a fan of Top Chef or The Next Food Network like I am, then you've watched someone make a granita. I suspect they make them for dessert because they're so easy. A granita is basically sugar, water, and fruit. The sugar and water are cooked, then pureed with the fruit and frozen. Sometimes the fruit is cooked a bit, sometimes not. But the basic idea is icy fruit. It's supposed to be more grainy and icy than a smooth sorbet, but because of that -- we can make granitas at home quite easily.

This recipe will not only cool you off, but it requires no cooking whatsoever! You don't even have to make a sugar syrup! And it's a great excuse to open the freezer and stick your head in every 1/2 hour.

The hardest part is finding a suitable tray or pan in which to freeze it. I used a simple roasting pan. Just be sure you use something shallow that fits into your freezer! And beware of using your favorite shiny silver aluminum or stainless steel pan, some of them don't like freezing temperatures and will turn dark. (They're still usable, they just aren't pretty anymore.)

Granitas can be served with a dollop of creme fraiche or whipping cream, but on these hot days, it's nice to eat something very light. This granita has such an intense punch of flavor that you might even forget about the heat while you eat it!

Peach Mango Granita

3 peaches
1 mango
1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup apricot preserves

Peel and pit the peaches and the mango and place in a food processor. Add the lemon juice and apricot preserves. Puree. Spread in a pan and freeze. Every half hour, pull the pan from the freezer and scrape across the top with a fork. Mine took about two hours to reach a good consistency. To serve, rake the fork across the top and spoon into a fun glass, like a martini or wine glass. And if you happened to pour a little peach schnapps or vodka over top of it, I wouldn't tell! ; )