I am an ice cream freak.
Take me to the fanciest restaurant and if there is a dessert menu, I am trolling it, looking for the ice cream. Never mind that Creme Brulee or the Chocolate Mousse 6 ways, I adore ice cream. I prefer it in Sundae form, if possible.
My sister, who recently has “gone vegan” admits that butterscotch topping is the kryptonite to her veganism.
( Weird, mine is pork!)
Anyway, I know just what she means. When I was in high school I briefly worked at a Friendly’s. One of the sundaes on the menu was the Swiss Chocolate Almond. It combined marshmallow topping with hot fudge topping and I guess it featured ice cream that had almonds in it but WHO CARES what it was, cos’ it had marshmallow topping mixed into hot fudge on top of it. That is a marriage made in the church of straight up delicious.
Now, sorbet is a totally different story. First off, you can’t put hot fudge or any other magical ice cream topping on sorbet. You might get away with some pineapple chunks, I guess, but that seems unnatural. Second, you order sorbet some places and you get this icy, ghost flavor of what you ordered. Or even worse it’s full of frozen chunks of fruit! Some people make great sorbet. If I am going to forfeit an ice cream experience for sorbet, it better be utterly dense, perfectly creamy, and taste like real fruit.
Usually if I am making ice cream at home, you know, like I do , I opt for gelato or very non vegan stuff.
This month is my month over at Dessert Of The Month Club and since peach season is almost up and there were some “cosmetically challenged” peaches for CHEAP at the farmer’s market I went with sorbet.
(Also, it’s been hot as a June bride on a feather bed here and even I have my ice cream limits.)
However, frozen desserts can be wily beasts.
Just last week, I made a basil lemon gelato that would not freeze past soft serve consistency, no matter what I did. Turns out it had too much sugar, which I believe lowered the freezing point of the mixture so much, that even in the freezer, it would not become firm. (Ugh, who knew there was so much science in sweets, not Ms. sitting-in-summer-school-after a-big-fat-D-in-Chemistry Foodpunk, that’s for sure)
Here are some things I have learned that may be helpful:
Adding liquid sugars to ice cream and sorbet bases helps them to obtain a smoother texture, so substitute maple syrup, corn syrup, (or better Sorghum syrup, if you can find it) honey and the like for table sugar to improve your texture.
Make sure the ice cream maker drum has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours and that your kitchen is not hot as blazes.
Make sure your base is CHILLED. Over night is best, but 4 hours should do the trick.
The more a base sits in the fridge the more it thickens and the better texture you get.
If you are making ice cream/sorbet with a non commercial maker, and unless you are in a professional kitchen, then you are, it should be consumed, ideally within 24 hours.
Back to this Peach Sorbet, I like spice and the thought of spicy peach made me think of salsa, which made me think of chiles and then of Tequila, naturally. So I added both to the sorbet.
Bonus: Alcohol keeps ice cream/sorbets from freezing rock hard so win/win!.
Spicy Southern Peach Sorbet
4-6 good size peaches peeled and chopped
A couple chiles ( I had dried Chiles de Arbol, but fresh jalapeno or any such nice chile would work well I think)
2 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp of Sorghum Syrup (or corn, no judgements here)
a pinch of salt
the juice of one lemon and (optional) a shot of Tequila
Cook the peaches in a saute pan over med heat. As they begin to cook and break down add the honey and syrup. Stab your chiles with a paring knife and throw them in. When the mixture looks like it would make an ok jam, take it off heat, discard the chiles and puree mixture in a blender.
( I kept half of one of my chiles and threw him in the blender)
Strain the mixture into a metal bowl. This is annoying but so necessary, just keep pushing the puree through with a spatula.
Make sure to scrape off all the goo clinging to the bottom of the strainer as that is the good stuff!
Put the bowl in the fridge and be patient while it gets nice and cool. (2-4 hrs or overnight)
Freeze according to the ice cream maker’s directions, in this case: pour in drum, turn on.
Really rich tasting sorbet, with a great texture and a nice creeper burn.