Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lemon Cream Sorbet

The past 20-plus years have seen quite a fad of eating fat-free this and that (I practiced it myself ever since junior high, really, until just a few years ago) and believing it was so much better for me, when in reality it was likely higher in sugar and/or fake flavors and weird, scary impossible-to-pronounce ingredients.

This mis-guided belief fed into the theory that sugar-laden gummy candy was healthier than dark chocolate, fat-free cookies (what is in those, anyway?) could be eaten with abandon, vegetable oil spreads surely must be healthier than real butter, and artificially-flavored fat-free ice cream (blegh) was better than the real thing made with fresh cream, whole milk, real vanilla and egg yolks.  And more often than not, those fake foods just leave people feeling unsatisfied and craving more junk.

It's been a journey, as I think it probably is for many people, to educate myself about ingredients, to learn to make good choices (even when I don't feel like cooking and a frozen pizza sounds so good), and to decide how I want to feed myself and my family.  And I realize everyone has different, and very strong opinions, about what is healthy and what isn't, and we're all entitled to our beliefs, so I'm not here to argue with or judge anyone for theirs.

But my conclusion is simple:  real food is best.  And this is just one of the reasons why I love to cook and bake.

Jamie was bringing home ingredients for dinner one Friday evening - vegetables and fish for salade nicoise, and crab beignets with roasted red pepper aioli, which we've made before with huge success.  He also brought home a few oysters which we dipped in the beignet batter for frying, as well as a few green beans and even avocado slices.  It may seem a contradiction to start off talking about healthy cooking and then post photos of deep-fried beignets, oysters and vegetables, but I'm not claiming that deep-fried foods are healthy by any means.  However, since we practically never eat fast food and go out to eat rarely, I have no problem with frying something at home once every few months.

I had an excess of lemons left from baking the lemon cakes, since I used more zest than juice for the cakes, so I started juicing the remaining lemons to make a light sorbet for dessert.

I made my lemon sorbet with just five simple ingredients - lemons, sugar, water, cream and vodka (a splash of vodka improves the texture of homemade ice cream and sorbets and helps to prevent ice crystals from forming).  Cream is not a typical ingredient in lemon sorbet - usually it's made with just one cup each of water, lemon juice and sugar, with some lemon zest - but I loved the smooth richness the cream added.

The sorbet was beautifully tart, surprisingly smooth, and with a subtle creaminess to mellow out the acidity of the lemon juice.  And I love any excuse to use my pretty vintage sorbet dishes.

One Year Ago:   Dreams of Blueberry Fields in Summer and Blueberry Buttermilk Biscuits
Two Years AgoBlueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Lemon Cream Sorbet

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons vodka

In a saucepan, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, water and sugar.  Over medium heat, warm the syrup, whisking occasionally, just until the sugar is dissolved.

Chill the syrup completely in the refrigerator.  Whisk in the cream and vodka then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions, until thick.  Transfer to a chilled container, cover and freeze until firm enough to scoop, about 4-6 hours.

Yields about 1 quart

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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