Dairy-free and egg-free--sorbets are a relatively healthy dessert, easy to make and a particularly fitting end to warm-weather meals. This strawberry sorbet is one of our favorites and once strawberries are in season I make it all the time. It's incredibly delicious and refreshing!!
A few years ago, we took our kids and my mom on a short trip to Paris. It was amazing and of course we all loved it, despite the fact that the city was experiencing a heat-wave that they had not experienced in decades and our hotel room was not air conditioned!! There were so many memories made on that trip, one of which involves the 5 of us being stuck in the service elevator of the aforementioned hotel with a Japanese couple and the desk manager for over an hour in 100 degree weather (yes, that really happened!) but I digress. The reason I bring up the Paris trip is that the impetus for this sorbet springs directly from that trip. Y'see there was a popular gelato shop that we frequented several times during the trip (we blamed it on the heat, of course!) and they made the most scrumptous tasting and looking (they shaped the gelato into flower-like scoops) gelato. My kids were convinced that I could re-create it at home if I only had the right machine...
So...a few weeks later, they surprised me with a terrific ice cream maker, a couple of ice cream cookbooks and an ice cream scooper for my birthday. The rest is history...seriously, I have been churning out amazing, easy-to-make concoctions from day one and we virtually never buy ready-made ice cream anymore. Once you get a taste for the homemade, you'll never go back, I swear! The machine I use is a DeLonghi and I really love it! It's a self-freezing machine, which means you don't have to pre-chill the bowl and it really churns everything evenly. The only drawback is that it's a bit noisy but the results are well worth the hearing loss--just kidding!!
This sorbet recipe is crazy easy--there are only 4 ingredients at play here-- strawberries, sugar, salt and lemon juice--but because of that you really have to make this with the best fresh strawberries you can find. When strawberries are out of season and you can only get the hothouse kind, I don't think it's worth your while. That said, now is the time to make this--all the berries I've been buying are so sweet and luscious!!
After you cut up the berries, you macerate them for about an hour in some sugar and then blend them up with a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Then you strain the mixture so that all of those nasty little strawberry seeds don't find their way into your smooth sorbet.
The hardest part is that you now need to chill the mixture for at least 8 hours! Yes, it's hard to wait, but you'll be rewarded with a smooth, almost creamy, (in fact, you'll find it hard to believe there's no heavy cream or milk involved here!) frozen strawberry treat that explodes with flavor on your tastebuds! As i write, a batch is churning away, and we are counting down the minutes till that first bite! Ah, Paris!!
Fresh Strawberry Sorbet
You will need an electric ice cream maker for this. I use the DeLonghi 6000 with a self refrigerating compressor. It's not cheap but it produces wonderful sorbet, gelato and ice cream and it's not as expensive as some brands. It's totally been worth it for me but if you're not that sure about it, I know many people are happy with the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment too.
Makes about 1 quart or 6 cups
Prep Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes (only about 15 minutes active time) plus at least 8 hours of chilling; Churn Time: 25-30 minutes
2 pounds of the best fresh strawberries you can find, rinsed, hulled and cut into halves or quarters
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1. Place the cut up berries in a large bowl and toss with the sugar. Cover with a dishcloth and stir every 10 minutes or so for about an hour until the berries have begun to break down and there is a fair amount of juice in the bowl.
2. Place the berry mixture, including all of the liquid, into a blender or food processor with the lemon juice and the salt and puree until smooth. Place a strainer over a large bowl and strain the mixture, pressing down gently with a spatula or wooden spoon to remove all the liquid from the solids. This will take a few minutes--be patient. Be sure to scrape the underside of the strainer into the bowl so you don't miss any of that strawberry deliciousness and then discard the solids.
3. Pour the strained mixture into an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.
4. Before freezing it in your ice-cream maker, give it a good stir and then freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mine usually takes about 25-30 minutes to make.
5. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. I don't know how long this lasts--it never makes it past a couple of days in my house!
Note: Recipe adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I left out the kirsch and also doubled the recipe--the original recipe only makes about a pint and that just disappears too fast in our kitchen, but if you want to make a small amount, you can easily half the recipe.