Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sorbet, sorbet, sorbet

The bloke's been away and the first batch of our houseguests has arrived. I haven't been cooking much - just a few leftovers from the freezer, some cheese toasties with salads, that sort of thing. I have, however, put some salmon to cure, and have been determinedly making sorbets.

So far I have quince, pear, and chocolate sorbets in the freezer, and an apricot mix ready to freeze tomorrow when the bowl has had time to chill again. The chocolate sorbet is from the recipe I gave earlier. For the others, here's the minimalist recipe.

Recipe: Simple Fruit Sorbet
750g soft fruit
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup liquid
very tiny pinch salt

Puree in blender; freeze in icecream maker.

Notes: Easy, huh? Aren't gadgets great to have around. You probably want more detail, though.

For the fruit, if it's already soft like a mango or ripe peach, just puree it without cooking it. If it's harder, then cook it until it's soft, and make sure it's well chilled before proceeding to freeze. If it's not already a sweet fruit, as with quince or rhubarb, cook it with just enough sugar that you would be prepared to eat it. Don't count that as part of the 2/3 cup; you still need that.

For the liquid, use mostly water, or perhaps a compatible juice. A couple of tablespoons of some liqueur can be used, but don't overdo it. I used vanilla vodka with the pears; calvados with the honey and vanilla poached quinces; and amaretto with the apricot.

The apricot sorbet is even more experimental and lazy. I read a lychee sorbet recipe somewhere out on teh interwebz that was as simple as imaginable: "puree a large tin of lychees, syrup and all; freeze". I decided to try that out with a big tin of apricots. I'll let you know how it went. I'm also contemplating Clotilde's Nutella icecream - in theory, I can freeze the apricot mix tomorrow night and the Nutella on Friday morning if I get my act together enough. I might not get there in time for the Friday dinner party, though. There also must be hot cross buns. And two more houseguests. And a folk festival. It's a busy time.

P.S. The sorbets worked brilliantly - I felt the quince was outstanding, but had a few votes for the pear to win. The nutella ice creamturned out great, too, a really nice texture despite my initial worry that it wasn't freezing enough in the churn. All worked, that is, except for the experimental apricot one. It came out far too solid and icy, and the single teaspoon of mixed spice somehow became very unbalanced and dominant. It tasted excessively powerfully of cardamom. I thought tastes became more subdued when frozen; this seems to have strengthened. Oh well. If all experiments worked, they wouldn't be experiments. Four out of five is pretty good going. (Updated 24 March.)

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