03 August 2009

Where will sorbet take you?

Last week when I wrote about grilling pizzas, it was hot. I now know I was wrong. In the days following that post the thermometer crept up to 107 outside. Inside our usually cozy Northwest home, sans AC, it was a whopping 90. In the mornings.

So the past week we were on a hiatus from using heat in the kitchen for anything. Well, I suppose that's not exactly true. I did boil pasta one night, and I used the slow cooker to make pulled pork. Oh, and the microwave steamer was my best friend.

Somewhere in there, I had to make a dessert for book club. A crisp, cobbler or pie would have done right by the fruit of the season, but they all took some heavy-duty fire power to bake them. And trying to keep it dairy-free for a friend ruled out an icebox pie. With four over-ripe peaches waiting for their hips to sag in the heat, I decided they must be part of my dessert plan. Then I remembered that gifted bottle of Prosecco collecting dust. My dessert would be Peach Sorbet.

Sorbet is one of the most deceptive desserts out there. It requires very few tools save a blender or food processor, demands practically zero effort and the reward is the ripe, sugary goodness of fresh fruit, frozen into thousands of ice crystals that walk the line between ice cream and Popsicle.

You will see some recipes call for an ice cream maker, but this method just uses your freezer. Try swapping your other favorite fruits for peaches -- nectarines, plums, berries, pears, melon. I even had a rose sorbet once that was to die for. The chef had hand-picked fresh petals that morning to make the palate cleanser. It tasted, I told the her, like I imagine some elegant and romantic French lingerie shop with plush velvet chairs, beautiful blue-haired shop keepers, and a window display any mother could walk by with her child.

A wonderful sorbet, I suppose, can take you just about anywhere.

Summer Peach Sorbet

3 Large, ripe peaches
1/3 cup Prosecco or other sparkling white wine*
Approx. 1 tablespoon sugar
1 medium lemon, juiced

To remove the peach skins, with a knife, cut through the skins, making a large X in the butt of the fruit. Add peaches to boiling water for about 1 minute. You will see the skins start to pull away from the crisscross cut. Remove peach from pot and, once cool enough to handle, gently rub or pull away skins. Pit the peaches and load the fruit into a food processor or blender (work in batches if needed). Add the wine, sugar and lemon juice and puree. Taste. Add more sugar if needed, based on the fruit's ripeness. Once mixture is done, pour into a shallow vessel. A plastic container with a lid is best, but a cake pan or glass dish works as well. Cover and place in the freezer. About every hour or so, remove the mixture from freezer and stir with a fork, pulling any freezing chunks on the edges to the inner part of the dish. After about four to five hours the sorbet will be ready to serve.

* The alcohol helps this dish by not allowing it to freeze completely. However, if you want to make an alcohol-free version, make a simple syrup with equal parts sugar and water instead.

1 comment:

The Blue Suitcase said...

Now here is some nice ice-cold heaven on a dish. Mmmm, thank you!