Sunday 23 July 2017

Raspberry sorbet

Do you know how hard it is to photograph sorbet? It melts for a start. You want a nice outdoor shot in the sun. But the summer sun is hot it turns out. Sorbet is also sticky so I line up a shot and then I notice the red thumbprint marring the glass. And it melts. I still can't make a quenelle so I'm using an ice cream scoop to make perfect spheres, that then adhere to the scoop despite me dipping it in hot water, so the perfect sphere deforms on its way into the bowl. And then it melts. It's melty.

The colour's fantastic though, isn't it? There's an intensity of flavour too that is simply absent from commercial tubs.

Photographing sorbet is much harder than making it. We seem to have a glut of well flavoured fruit this summer (2017): peaches, nectarines, strawberries, raspberries, plums; all gorgeous. So juicy I have to eat them with a tea towel in my lap.  British cherries of course still taste of almost nothing sadly. If anyone knows otherwise, please leave a comment below.

Sorbet, aside from being the perfect end to a summer dinner, is also a great way of using up bruised or over-ripe fruit. I buy up piles of 'sell by' punnets that slosh around the shelves this time of year.

Sorbet is fruit pulp and sugar, churned while freezing. Simple. The only issue is the amount of sugar. Too little and it's tart; too much and aside from the diabetes, it won't freeze. Commercial mixes are measured with a sugar refractometer but I use an egg instead. Yup, an egg. It's a density floaty test thing. Details here. (If you click on the link, notice how poor their sorbet photo is too. It melts you see. Ha. Culinary schadenfreude.)

This recipe makes a lot. No point faffing about with trivial amounts when dealing with something that's frozen for a living.

Raspberry Sorbet
Makes about two litres.

Put 1.5kg of ripe British raspberries in a thick pot. Thick so you don't get hotspots that catch and burn. Add 400g of caster sugar, two tablespoons of water, one 140g tube of glucose syrup (helps the texture) and the zest of a lemon. Keep the lemon, you'll probably want the juice later. Put a lid on or cover with foil. Let it sit like this for an hour or so until the sugar starts to make the raspberries weep their juices.

Slowly heat this mix. You don't need to boil it. You want to soften the fruit to destruction while dissolving the sugars. Taste when done. Don't take my word for it. Recipes are just blueprints. You still have to monitor the constriction and make your own decisions (Belinda!). Your ingredients will not be the same as mine when I wrote this. I may have had very sweet raspberries. Who knows. You may need some more sweetness. Add sugar and dissolve. Taste. You may think it needs some acidity (probably). A zing of lemon juice. 

The mix needs to be strained through a sieve. There are lots of seeds. You don't want the seeds. Push the mix through with the back of a ladle or the 'big spoon' that all kitchens seem to have acquired (never bought). Avoid using wooden spoons - unless you enjoy sawdust sorbet. Do this in batches, emptying out your seed pile occasionally. I haven't yet found a use for raspberry seeds and I hate throwing food away. If you know one, leave a comment.

The mix should be slightly too sweet. Now that's a rubbish direction I know, akin to the 'don't over work the mix' instructions. Freezing food makes it taste less sweet so get it as you like it then add a little more sugar.

Chill this mix for a few hours, typically overnight, and then churn in your machine. You might think about throwing in some whole fruit too. Once churned this needs another overnight freeze before serving.

Next, I'm making some strawberry ice cream. I'll link this up once written.

Another poor shot. This is halfway through plating up a dessert of glazed peaches with raspberries, rose meringues and (missing) polenta biscuits and raspberry syrup.

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