Thursday, December 29, 2011
I always forget how much I like sorbet. I can almost remember the first time I had a lemon sorbet; at the time, I thought it was the best frozen thing I had ever tasted. For a while, it was the only thing I would order when I went to an ice cream parlor. But...I hate to be boring and predictable so I stopped ordering it. (Although, I must say, with as much of an ice cream snob as I am, I really should stick to ordering sorbets and/or sherbets when I'm out...)
When I'm contemplating what fabulous frozen concoction I'm going to make next, sorbet is so easy to overlook. I mean, at it's core, sorbet is basically made from sweetened water flavored with fruit or some sort of alcohol (y'know, like champagne...), among other things; it just seems so...plain. And with all the different flavors of ice cream just calling my name to be made , how could I not push sorbet to the back of the line? But in its simplicity lies an understated elegance that lets the flavors shine through clean and clear. There's no eggs or dairy to dilute the flavor.
This champagne sorbet is no exception. At it's very core, it is an elegant dessert. Yet, it's not very fussy. There are only 4 ingredients and it's fairly simple to make. You do need a bit of advanced planning in that you have to make the simple syrup and have it (and the champagne - can't forget that) chilled before you can freeze the mixture in the ice cream machine. But even that isn't too hard. I made mine one night, stuck it in the fridge along with the champagne, and then processed the sorbet the next day.
One last point in favor of making this sorbet. Because it's made with champagne and has alcohol, it doesn't freeze super solid. It's absolutely perfect for New Year's party prep because you can make it ahead of time and not have to worry about it being a solid block of frozen sorbet.
I'm sure this can be made alcohol free, using an appropriate substitute, but I haven't tried it. Let me know if you do.
Adapted from Ice Cream Ireland
Makes about 1 quart
330 gr (~ 1 3/8 cup) sugar
500 ml (~2 1/8 cup) water
250 ml (~1 cup) Champagne
75-100 ml (1/4 - 1/3 cup) lemon juice*
Bring sugar and water to boil the water and stir in the sugar, until it is completely dissolved. Cool completely. Stir in the champagne and just enough lemon to offset the sweetness. Freeze according to your manufacturer's instructions.
Serve it in champagne glasses garnished with strawberries. Or, if you want to be extra fancy, put a small scoop in a champagne flute and then top it off with champagne and garnish with strawberries.
Go easy on the lemon, but also don't be afraid of it. Taste as you go, and make sure it doesn’t overpower the champagne. I initially added about 2 tablespoons. I had to process my sorbet in two batches. After the first batch came out, I added a smidge more (maybe 2 teaspoons) and I was much happier with the overall flavor.