• Mai Tai Sorbet

    Mai Tai Sorbet, with a little extra rum...

    Mai Tai Sorbet, with a little extra rum…

    This is one of the best dishes we’ve made so far at the farm. What do we mean by “best”? Well, it certainly tastes great (like a Mai Tai) and was fun to make, but it is also “ours”. This one was our inspiration and our recipe. We searched the web for Mai Tai sorbet recipes and other than a passion fruit and pineapple thing that may taste good, but has nothing to do with a real Mai Tai, there are no other recipes. We will “claim” this one so please excuse us if we crow a little. But if anyone has examples otherwise, that is fine. We are just happy to keep making this.

    mts6mts5The inspiration came from a somewhat odd source. A few weeks ago Carolyn made Elegant White Cake with Chocolate Ganache, and it was very, very tasty. One of the key flavors of the cake was a little almond extract that gave the cake a marzipan-ish flavor. We wondered what other dishes might benefit from a touch of almond and we immediately though of the almond and orange flower water flavor of orgeat syrup. If you are unfamiliar with orgeat, it is the key flavoring that makes a Mai Tai a Mai Tai. We also had some Cara Cara oranges we need to use, and suddenly the idea of “Mai Tai Sorbet” came up. Carolyn thought it sounded like a decent idea, so we gave it a try.

    mts7mts8The recipe came together quickly. A Mai Tai cocktail combines two aged rums, lime juice, Cointreau (or orange Curaçao), orgeat, simple syrup and is garnished by a lime shell and some mint. Our Mai Tai Sorbet combines lime juice, orange juice, simple syrup, a few drops of almond extract, dashes of aged rum and Cointreau (you could also use rum and/or orange extracts) and some Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters (optional, but very good). We garnish with a sprig of mint and some grated lime zest to mimic the lime shell in the cocktail.

    mts10mts9The only trick to this recipe is to taste your sorbet base as you make it. Oranges vary in sweetness and extracts vary in strength. We make a little extra simple syrup to tune our base, and remember that the base will taste sweeter than the final sorbet- frozen foods taste less sweet. So if the base tastes a bit sweeter than you like, it is probably right. We also add the almond extract a few drops at a time and taste. Almond extract is strong stuff, so we used about 8 drops, tasting as we went. Same for the Tiki bitters, we ended up at about 6 drops, but tune to your taste. Continue reading

  • Meyer Lemon Sorbet

    Meyer Lemon Sorbet.

    Meyer Lemon Sorbet.

    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).

    lsorbet4lsorbet6And 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.

    lsorbet5lsorbet7But, 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.

    lsorbet8lsorbet9And 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.

    lsorbet11lsorbet13lsorbet12If 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….

    Add some sour cherry syrup...you won't be sorry...

    Add some sour cherry syrup…you won’t be sorry…

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