No matter what the calendar says, Memorial Day weekend will always be the official kick off to summer in my world. It’s always plenty warm by then and that extra day off gives us all time to be with friends and family–often outside with the music and the grill going. Hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit, chips, and potato salad are standard fare for many people, with ice cream often coming in for dessert.
I’ve got lots of great recipes for homemade ice cream, all of which I’d gladly make over and over again. Instead of an old favorite, though, I’ve got a new favorite for you today. In their April issue, Fine Cooking did a truly fabulous feature on homemade sorbets. It shared a base recipe with countless combinations and endless adaptations. They must know summer starts now, as well!
Along with the recipe, the magazine showed a trick I’d never heard of before. By gently placing the egg in a tall vessel filled with the sorbet base, you can check to see if you’ve got the correct ratio of sugar to fruit puree. If it sinks, you need more sugar. If it floats, your ratio is correct. How cool is that? My best friend’s mom and I had so much fun with this new trick. In fact, we made two kinds of sorbet so we could keep playing with the egg! The teacher in me kept thinking what fun this would be to do with students as they learn about buoyancy and density. With summer break fast approaching (happy dance!), you could certainly make this an entertaining way to get your kids in the kitchen!
from Fine Cooking, April 2014
1 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 c. water
1 lb. fresh blackberries
2 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon or lime juice
3 TBSP bourbon (optional)
1/8 tsp. guar gum (optional, but makes for a creamier texture)
1 raw egg, in its shell, washed and dried
1. To make the sugar syrup, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small pot over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients are combined and sugar granules are thoroughly dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator until cold, about 30 minutes.
2. In a blender, puree the blackberries and lemon juice. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. Place in a covered container and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
3. Put the blackberry puree, 1 c. sugar syrup, and bourbon and guar gum, if using, in a blender. Strain mixture, once again, to remove any remaining seeds.
4. Check the density of the sorbet base by gently lowering the egg into the container with a slotted spoon. If it sinks, remove it and stir in and additional 2 TBSP of the sugar syrup, repeating as necessary until the egg floats just below the surface with a quarter-sized exposed area of shell. When density is right, pour sorbet base into a covered container and refrigerate until very cold, at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. For a visual, click here.
5. To freeze, pour base into an ice cream maker and run according to manufacturer’s directions. Alternately, pour the base into a tightly sealed container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Sorbet will keep up to two weeks.
Yield: 1 quart