I found the best quote by Alice Roosevelt Longworth last week, while traveling through the Midwest for the Ride on Chicago:
“I have a simple philosophy; fill what’s empty, empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.”
I couldn’t get her words out of my head all week. Probably because I felt like this has been my philosophy on the road too; bellies, pots, brains, hearts, calendar days — all full. Trash cans, energy levels, gas tanks, cycling legs — all empty. Desires to ride, run, and to gobble all the bacon, cookies, ice cream — itches scratched. But now that I’m home, I’m realizing that this isn’t just my philosophy at work in the kitchen; it also sings to who I am, and who I want to be.
The ice cream social we hosted a few weeks back (somewhere between the Tour of California, and Ride on Chicago) is a perfect example of this. This was the third social we’ve thrown now, and each time it’s the same formula with new guests; I whip up 12-14 different types of ice cream, and our guests bring the toppings (and beer, if they like.) It gives me the opportunity to fill my brain/the kitchen/their bellies with exciting tastes we might never have tried before, to empty my notebooks of the ice cream ideas that I’ve harbored all winter, and to empty the excess of my brimming love for this simple preparation with them. And, it gives us all the opportunity to scratch the ice cream itch. To really go for it. We don’t just nibble on ice cream, we eat it for dinner. A lot of it. It’s so fantastic. And it’s the perfect, most indulgent way to welcome summer.
I tried a whole slew of new flavors and recipes I have been marinating on, lots of which were inspired by products made right here in Boulder; the mint ice cream was made with mint from our own garden that we sprouted from seed, the coffee stout ice cream was prepared with locally roasted espresso from Boxcar Roasters and a Sanitas Brewing Waker Stout that I just discovered. Many of these flavors will make an appearance again when we say goodbye to warm weather in a few months with another ice cream social no doubt, but I have a feeling that this blackberry lemonade sorbet is going to make cameos all through these hot summer months in Colorado. In fact, it’s so simple, light and crisp that I’ve been tossing granola on it when I get home from super-warm runs in the canyon, and enjoying it as a second breakfast.
The recipe here is simple; fruit, lemons, sugar. The only special items you’ll need to prepare it properly are patience, forethought and an ice cream maker (buy one. Really. You won’t be sorry, and I’ll throw more ice cream recipes your way to make sure it gets it’s use in!) You’re going to want to make sure that the canister for your ice cream maker is in the freezer before you make the sorbet base (ours lives in the freezer, so its ready at any moment to churn.) I also suggest picking up a 1 liter Weck tulip jar or two to store the sorbet in after its churned. The preparation of the ingredients takes only a few minutes, but you’ll need to allow the sorbet to freeze up for at least 4 hours (I like to let it sit overnight) before eating. Once its ready, scoop it up on pie, eat with berries and stone fruits, or make lemonade floats. Or, eat it straight.
A few things on the formula itself; I chose blackberries because our market had such a plump, dark, juicy batch that day I couldn’t resist, and I am sure that the quality and flavor of the fruit you’re using makes a difference here. If your blackberries are small, a little peeked, or just don’t just make you want to pop them in your mouth on your way to the checkout then opt for more delicious blueberries, raspberries or strawberries instead.
One other thing I want to point out; I use corn syrup in this recipe, judiciously, instead of using honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup. I do this so that the sorbet has a smooth consistency, and so that the sugar in the recipe doesn’t crystalize when you cook the fruit. Corn syrup acts an interfering agent to prevent the crystalization of sugars and this is really important for a nicely textured sorbet. If you want to learn more about corn syrup, and want to know why you needn’t be afraid of it in small doses as well as learn when/where/how/why to use it, this article by David Lebovitz is a great one.
I’m eager to hear about how you like this recipe, and what other flavors and combinations the recipe sparks for you — once you master the technique of making your own ice creams and sorbets at home I think you’ll find it’s the loveliest little addiction! Happy summer! -xo L
- 1 pound fresh organic blackberries
- 3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup (see note below)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice + 1/4 cup water OR
- 3/4 cup prepared lemonade
- adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
- *Note on corn syrup: yes, I do employ corn syrup here and I don't feel bad about it. Corn syrup gets a bad rap because it's quite over used in American packaged foods, but there are certain places where it should absolutely be used. Sorbet (and ice cream making) is one of them. Unlike honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave, corn syrup acts as an interfering agent and prevents the sugar from crystalizing it when you cook it -- making for a nice, smooth finished sorbet.*
- Puree the berries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
- Then, combine the fruit with the sugar and corn syrup in a 3-quart saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently to make sure all of the sugar dissolves. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes (3-4 minutes should do it) to reduce the juices a bit. Then, remove from heat immediately and transfer to a bowl or ziploc bag to chill for at least 2 hours.
- Once the mixture is chilled, pull from the refrigerator and strain through a mesh sieve. (This step is optional, of course, if you like seeds in your sorbet. I don't!)
- Pour the sorbet base into the previously frozen canister of your ice cream maker and spin until its the consistency of soft whipped cream. Transfer the sorbet from the canister to a storage container (I like to use 1 liter Weck jars) and press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface. Then seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer (the back!) for at least 4 hours, then serve and enjoy!