Monday, January 21, 2013

Tastes like Summer

On Sunday afternoon, Lauren and I went out to Berryfields to pick raspberries again. When we went last year, I used the raspberries to make ice cream, and this year I decided I'd make sorbet (from my fruity gleanings.

Berry picking is a pleasant activity for a Summer afternoon; we were especially entertained by the conversation of the kids picking in the next row over:
"Look over here! It's literally raspberry heaven!" (from the younger sister)
"If it was raspberry heaven, all the raspberries would be dead" (response in scathing elder-brother tones)
Interchanges such as these sent me into carefully smothered fits of giggles, as Lauren and I plucked away at our own sections of "raspberry heaven".

It's easy to get into a rhythm of picking, and I wound up with far more than I needed for the sorbet. Still, it'd be criminal if I didn't have some left over for eating, right? When I got my raspberries home, I was dismayed to see that there was a hole in the corner of the bag - a raspberry had just fallen out and into the cat food as I plonked the bag on the bench. I wandered back down to the garage to see if any had fallen out in the car. Nope. But some smaller bits of disintegrated berry had fallen out onto the hall carpet - and I'd just smooshed them in by walking over them as I went to the garage.

After I'd cleaned up the carpet, I actually made a start on the sorbet. I needed 500g of fruit, pureed and strained. Since raspberries have more seeds than most of the fruits suggested in the recipe, I added a bit more than 500g to make up for what I was going to lose in straining them out. I separated out the most squished ones (from the bottom of the bag) for use in the puree, and left the better ones for eating.

I quickly mashed the raspberries with a potato masher, then started forcing them through a sieve. This part of the recipe was certainly the most time-consuming. It took quite a while to press and scrape all the moisture from around those berry seeds, though it would be easier with some of the other fruits suggested. I was quite surprised at how little was left in  the sieve when I finally got all the juice out - I probably didn't need to add those extra berries after all.

The next step was to make a syrup by heating sugar and water, stirring until all the water is dissolved. After allowing the syrup to cool slightly, I added it to the fruit puree with some lemon juice, and poured the whole concoction into a shallow container (an Edmonds puff pastry container, as it happens). The container then went into the freezer, to cool until the surface started freezing.

It took a couple of hours before I could really say the surface was freezing over. When I got it out, I found it had actually frozen through around the edges  but was still liquid in the centre. Unsurprising, when you think about it, but not what the recipe had led me to expect.

I transferred the sorbet mixture into a bowl, added a couple of egg whites and beat the mixture up. It was hard to know when the egg whites were combined with the fruit mixture, so I just kept the beater going for a couple of minutes. Then I poured it all back into the container and put it back into the freezer.

Several hours later, I decided the sorbet had frozen enough, and scooped out a serving, added a handful of raspberries and a little mint to garnish.

The texture of the sorbet was not as consistent as a shop-bought version, being firmly frozen in places but still fairly slushy in others. I didn't really care, because it tasted fantastic. It has a concentrated raspberry flavour, balanced between sweet and tart by the added sugar and lemon. I definitely recommend this one if you have excess fruit that needs using.

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