To make this sorbet, I used the better part of two ripe cantaloupes. Place a large ceramic or tin bowl or pot in the freezer while you prep the sorbet. Roughly cube the flesh and place it in a food processor or blender. You can also use a hand-held wand mixer, in which case place the fruit in a large bowl. Process until you have a thickish liquid. Add about 1/2 cup of syrup (bring 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil, stirring periodically; remove from heat and let cool before using) and 3 large spoonfuls of mascarpone (optional). The mascarpone doesn’t alter the flavor but does make for a nice pastel color and creamy consistency. Blend well, transfer to the chilled container, and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Freeze for 4 or 5 hours, forking it every now and then. Remember to remove frozen solid sorbet from the freezer and let rest at room temp for about 30 minutes before serving. Fork it up and then use an ice cream scoop to serve. If you like, garnish with red fruits like the currants pictured above or fresh mint leaves.
I tasted tomato sorbet for the first time quite recently, while participating in the Food Blogger Contest hosted by Chef Academy Italy in Terni in May. The morning of the event, we bloggers had been assigned to teams of students, each team under the supervision of a professional chef instructor of the Academy. I had the privilege that morning of working alongside Chef Maurizio Serva, who runs La Trota restaurant in Rivodutri in the province of Rieti in Lazio. Chef Serva stopped me at one point amid the controlled kitchen chaos to have me taste a tomato sorbet (a nearby student offering me a spoon quickly produced from his shirtsleeve pocket), to later be paired with a revamped version of this dish of mine during the competition tastings. Things were so busy that day I didn’t think to ask for the recipe, but today I decided to try to make it based on taste-memory.
This savory and tangy sorbet could be served in between courses, especially during a seafood or fish-based meal; or as an accompaniment to any spicy or crunchy vegetable dish, such as fried eggplant or zucchini.
500 grams tomatoes (about a pound)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Score and boil the tomatoes for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool. Peel and deseed the tomatoes. I never manage to remove all the seeds, which probably doesn’t matter for this recipe. But if you’re an OCD type about this kind of thing, you could strain the pulp to make sure you catch every last one. Place the pulp in a bowl or tall container. Add the lemon juice, a few basil leaves, and a few pinches of salt. Either pulse with a wand mixer or use a blender. You want a well-blended, smoothie-like texture, not too liquidy. Taste the mixture to check for the right level of saltiness. Freeze for about 2 hours, checking and forking the sorbet occasionally. If you let the sorbet freeze completely, be sure to take it out of the freezer about an hour before you intend to serve it. You will need to reblend it after it partially thaws.
Depending on where you live, the early days of July could be late for fresh lavender, but if you happen to have any lovely purple buds still left on your plants, here’s a refreshing sorbet recipe to try. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add 10 to 12 lavender buds with about 3/4 cups plain white sugar. Turn off the heat, stir well, and let the mixture cool for at least 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and transfer it to a ceramic or metal container (ideally one that’s been in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior). Fork up the mixture every now and then. It should be ready after about 3 hours. When you serve this sorbet, you’ll notice that the natural color leaves a bit to be desired: it’s almost a dark grey. An entirely optional trick is to dust the sorbet with colored sugar made by blending blue and red food coloring into a few teaspoons of white sugar.
Tangy, fresh, and almost embarrassingly easy to make, this red currant sorbet needs firstly super fresh and ripe currants, about 250 grams (one very full measuring cup). Clean them very carefully, especially the tiny stems. Place them in a bowl or tall container with 150 mls of water and 110 grams of regular sugar. Then blend with a hand mixer until all the fruit is smooth. Taste the liquid and sweeten more if you like. I strained the mixture to get most of the seeds out, but if a few spill through not to worry (they are sort of cute). Then transfer to a ceramic dish or metal pan and freeze for at least three hours, forking the sorbet periodically.
This is Jamie Oliver’s recipe, adapted from his lovely Jamie’s Italy.
200 ml (7 ounces) sugar, plus more for dusting the frozen wedges
200 ml (7 ounces) water
200 ml (7 ounces) lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 heaping Tablespoon of mascarpone
2 additional lemons to make the frozen wedges
Choose a container to freeze the sorbet in. Oliver uses a tin pan. I have used an enameled baking dish and a heavy glass bowl. Put the dish in the freezer while you prepare the sorbet. Bring the sugar and water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool. You’ll have a thick syrup. After 15 to 20 minutes, add the lemon juice and zest, stir, then add the mascarpone. Taste it now to check for sweet-sour ratio. You could add more sugar at this point if the liquid is too sour. This is a matter of individual taste. Pour the liquid into your container and freeze. Check it every hour or so and ‘fork it up a bit,’ as Oliver says. It’s ready after about 3 hours and can keep in the freezer for a few days.
So, what’s the twist? I garnish the sorbet with frozen sugary lemon wedges: Slice your fresh organic lemons into thin rounds, then halves, so you have several wedges. Remove any seeds, gently as to not disturb the pulp. Dust the wedges with sugar on both sides, place on a sheet of aluminum foil, and freeze together with the sorbet. Add a sprig of fresh mint for aroma and a dash of contrasting color.
Dedicated to my great friend, Sirpa Salenius, who has waited very patiently for this recipe.