By Rose McAvoy
Last week my friends at Farmstr slipped me a box of peaches. Each velvety peach was perfectly ripe. Nested in their shallow box they looked like an August sunset. I knew right away what to do with the first few: make a luscious, fruit-forward, subtly sweet, sunny-colored, and utterly refreshing sorbet.
I love when a peach is so ripe and full of juice that it barely holds itself together and should be eaten while leaning over the kitchen sink. Even after taking certain precautions, some juice still manages to leave a sticky trail down my arm and drip from my elbow. How fortunate we are that peach season falls at the time of year when we are most likely to wear short sleeve shirts. The very same time of year when we prefer our desserts from the freezer rather than the oven.
The recipe is the first one I tried from the new book by Jeni Britton Bauer and it is marvelous. A month ago I had a chance to learn Jeni’s ice cream technique when her book tour stopped at Seattle’s Book Larder. The evening was roasting and the quaint space was packed but we all leaned in as she heated the milk, whisked cream cheese (her “secret” ingredient), and demystified a food that I have always left in the hands of someone else.
Just like Jeni, these recipes are very approachable. More than once during her cooking demonstration she urged everyone to take the ideas and personalize them. So I did. What you see here is Jeni’s Stone Fruit Sorbet but half of the peaches have been replaced with rhubarb. The steps are simple but they do take some time. The results are so worth the small effort. The effort will allow you to eat a smaller serving with a greater appreciation for the ingredients, and that is just peachy!
BTW: This sorbet pairs beautifully with those Cardamom Meringues we were just talking about!
Fresh Peach and Rhubarb Sorbet
This sorbet turns out light and airy with a very fruity but not overly sweet flavor. It makes a wonderful end note to a hot summer day. You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe. Be sure to plan ahead as many canisters need to be frozen a day or so in advance of making sorbet or ice cream. The hands on time to make this recipe is about an hour over several steps with lengthy breaks in between. If you start in the morning it is possible to serve this sorbet later in the evening.
Yields approximately 12 (1/2 cup) servings
1lb 4oz rhubarb
12 oz fresh very ripe peaches (approximately 2 large peaches)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup vodka (regular or peach)
1. If needed, remove the leaves from the rhubarb stalks, clean and chop them roughly into 2 inch chunks. Quickly blanch the peaches and remove the peel, don’t worry about any stubborn bits. Chop the peaches into large chunks.
2. Place the fruit in a sauce pan with the sugar and corn syrup and simmer over medium heat and stir occasionally until the rhubarb falls apart into a mush. This may take about 20 minutes depending on the size of the fruit pieces.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Blend the mixture thoroughly with an emersion blender or pour into a standard blender. Mix until smooth then strain the mixture through a mesh sieve placed over a large bowl. Place the strainer and bowl into the refrigerator to let gravity do some of the work, push the puree through with a spatula, or implement some combination of the two methods.
4. Once the mixture has been strained chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Bonus points for nesting your bowl in an ice bath in the refrigerator (this will enable your mixture to get even colder without freezing).
5. Process the chilled sorbet base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it reaches the consistency of soft whipped cream. Scoop the soft sorbet into a freezer safe container and cover it with a piece of parchment and seal the container with an airtight lid.
6. Freeze the sorbet until it reaches a firm, scoopable, consistency – at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
Notes: The exact ratio of rhubarb to peaches is not important, just make sure you use 2 total pounds of fruit.
Approximate nutrition per serving: 100 calories, 0g fat, 23g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 1g protein, PP=3
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, “Stone Fruit Sorbet.”