Lush Life

I cannot tell you how many batches of fruit sorbet I have made this summer.  Countless thousands, I’ll wager.  (Betcha didn’t know there were that many weeks in a summer, didja?  Well, now you do).  At least twice a week I blend up fruit or berries, sometimes cooking them first, sometimes not, add herbs, spices, sweeteners, and churn away until I have cups and cups of smooth, luminously colored sorbet.

I’ve added one thing to these sorbets over and over, and its continual presence is rather unexpected.  My favorite sorbet ingredient this summer, specifically in sorbets where the fruit is cooked first, is red wine.  It obviously wouldn’t work with everything, but it worked with strawberries, it worked with raspberries, with blackberries, it worked astonishingly well with nectarines, and just today it worked marvelously with plums. 

I essentially outlined the preparation method above: cook the fruit with the wine, sweetener and, in the case of the plums, a branch of fresh rosemary.  When it was soft, I took it off the heat, let it cool, then blended it up.  Then, a day in the fridge to chill, and churning at dinner time. 

It’s hard to describe quite what the wine adds to the sorbets—it mellows the fruit, somehow, yet makes it taste more like itself.  Sorbets made with wine are not just smooth, but silky in their texture, even after being frozen solid and re-thawed—the texture is almost that of an ice cream.  An ignorant observer could be forgiven entirely for suspecting that one of these wine-enhanced sorbets had oodles of cream in it.  Of course, the wine also adds color—a deeper purple to the plums, a red blush to the nectarines and an intense, almost neon-magentaness to the strawberries and raspberries.

There are only a few more months left in sorbet season—soon the soft fruit will be over and I’ll have to sate myself on apples, pears and quinces.  In the meantime, though, you can find me by the ice cream maker, wine bottle in hand, churning away at whatever deep-flavored, dark-tinted sorbet is of the moment.

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Published in: on August 23, 2007 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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