Welcome to Ice Cream Week 2012! I did something along those lines in July last year, but this time around, Ice Cream Week is being hosted by my friend Phyl. I'm indebted to Phyl for providing me with the push I needed to get out of my recent blogging slump. I could blame it on a number of things--still getting adjusted to my new job location/hours, the parenting fun of ridding my children and my home of lice, the joy that is a Texas summer, being sucked into watching Olympics every chance I get... But what it really comes down to is what one of my former bosses called "analysis paralysis." I worry too much about what to write and how to make sure it's "perfect," when sometimes I really just need to sit down and do it. And while I'm at it, stop being so hard on myself for everything that I don't get done and that isn't perfect. =)
First up in our themes for this week is Summer Fruit. Since I haven't been able to spend much time in the kitchen recently, I started off by checking my archives for recipes that I made but never posted. But I rarely make fruit ice cream. I think the problem is that they never taste that fruity to me--the flavor of the fruit is muted by the dairy ingredients. And one of the things I love about most fruit is its acidity. So instead of a fruit ice cream, I bring you a sorbet. (That's actually our theme for Wednesday, so stay tuned for another one then.)
This recipe comes from my favorite ice cream book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. The recipes are arranged by season in the book, depending on when the ingredients are at their peak. The way my tastes run, I've mostly made recipes from the Autumn and Winter sections, but this one is squarely in the Summer category. The recipe is for Sour Beer Sorbets, and can be varied depending on the type of stone fruit you want to use or have available. The sour beers are Belgian lambics, one of the few beers I'll happily drink. I had a bunch of nectarines on hand, so I picked up a bottle of peach lambic and was all set. The recipe is pretty simple--simmer pureed fruit with some sugar and corn syrup (which helps the final texture), chill the mixture, strain it if desired, add the beer, and churn. I'm lazy, so I didn't bother to peel my nectarines before pureeing, so I did strain my mixture. When I tasted the mixture after simmering but before adding the beer, it seemed a bit flat and overly sweet. However, the acidity of the lambic beer took care of that. I also added a pinch of salt to the mixture.
The verdict? This is very tasty sorbet. The texture is smooth and not overly icy or hard to scoop. There's a hint of alcohol taste, but it's certainly not overpowering. I'd definitely like to try other flavors, particularly the Plum & Black Currant variation.
I've got my work cut out for me, since I don't have any other ice creams ready to go for this week's festivities. =) But I'm looking forward to the challenge. Be sure to check out Phyl's blog; he'll have posts every day this week (I'll probably only manage 3 or 4 at most) and will share links to other friends who are participating. His recipe for today is Citrus Beet Ice Cream. You should check it out for the color, if nothing else. =)