Life was “in the way” last week, so it has been a long gap between posts. We get a little twitchy if we don’t get to cook, so it is nice to be back. Happily, we still have Meyer lemons on the tree. But time is running short on our favorite citrus, so we made lemon sorbet to get ourselves back on the “blogging track”. After all, if life gives you lemons, make lemon sorbet (umm….or something like that….maybe Lemondrops….whatever).
And there are few desserts that give you this much flavor for so little effort. Lemons, water, sugar (maybe a touch of booze- we will explain). Heat, then cold. That is really it. You do need an ice cream maker (although granita is another option), but ice cream makers are cheap, most work well, and you get a good return on your investment. We think smiles make for good ROI. And with summer coming, sorbet will please just about anyone.
But, like all good things, there are a few tips and techniques that will make your sorbet
kick serious a$$ the best it can be. Sorbet is basically frozen fruit juice and extra sugar. Pretty simple stuff. But you can control the flavor and texture. For flavor, first pick good fruit. Second, if using citrus add some zest into the mixture. There is a lot of flavor in the zest, so it you want more depth, this is the way to get it. You can put the zest into the final sorbet mixture, and that is OK, but it is best to incorporate the zest into the sugar syrup to extract the most flavor. (If you are hardcore you can make an oleo- saccharum syrup- see here.) Once you get the flavor of the zest you can keep it or strain it, your call. We strain. And we add a touch of Limoncello to the sorbet, this does add flavor, but it is really about texture.
And texture is where the action is. Good fruit gives your sorbet good flavor. But technique gives your sorbet that magically soft, yet still “icy”, texture. Happily, the techniques are easy. To start, just be sure that your mixture is well-chilled when you put it into the ice cream maker / churn. The colder the mixture, the smaller the ice crystals. The smaller the ice crystals, the smoother the sorbet. You can chill the mixture in the fridge or, if you are in a hurry, use an ice bath. But you need the mixture to be under 45 degrees. The other tip is to add a touch of booze. Alcohol inhibits freezing and ice crystal formation- so a few tablespoons of spirits (maybe of Limoncello, vodka or Sauternes if you have it), will smooth out your sorbet. You can omit this step, but it is a negligible amount of alcohol, and the results will be worth it.
If you follow these steps, you will have some very tasty sorbet. It doesn’t need anything extra. But in case you want to take things to the next level, you may want to drizzle on some sour cherry syrup. Sour cherry lemonade sorbet? Oh yes. And if you really want to impress, put a scoop of the sorbet in a cocktail class and then fill the glass halfway with champagne. Oh my….
Meyer Lemon Sorbet:
Notes Before You Start:
- You can use any fresh lemon juice with this recipe, we might just add a bit more sugar if using something other than Meyers.
- When using lemon zest try to include as little of the bitter white pith as possible. It is worth a little extra effort.
What You Get: Lemon sorbet with very smooth texture. A treat for summer. (It is closer than you think!)
What You Need: An ice cream maker / churn. No other special equipment required.
How Long? 2-6 hours total, but with only a few minutes of active time. Anytime dish…or at least you can start at any time.
(Makes about 1 1/2 pints)
- 6-8 large Meyer lemons (you will need at least 1 cup of juice)
- Zest from 2 of the Meyer lemons
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup very cold water
- 2 tablespoons Limoncello or other spirit
- Combine 1 cup water, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Chill the mixture in a water bath or in the fridge for a few hours. Strain the zest from the syrup, if you like.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemons until you get at least 1 cup of juice. Strain to remove seeds, extra pulp and pith. Combine with the 1 cup of cold water and the Limoncello. Stir to combine and then chill with an ice bath or in the fridge.
- Combine the lemon juice and syrup mixtures and make they chill to under 45 degrees (and lower is fine). Stir the mixture and then pour into your ice cream maker. Follow the instructions from your ice cream maker.
- Once the sorbet is semi-soft, place it into a chilled, airtight container and into the freezer. Let the sorbet set for at least an hour, 2 will be better. Serve.
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