Mark and I are not big on celebrating Valentine’s Day with grand gestures or an expensive dinner out. For us, a perfect Valentine’s Day is a very good home-cooked meal shared with friends, and we did just that last night. The menu featured my favorite comfort food – a perfectly roasted chicken, herb roasted root veggies tucked underneath the bird to crisp in the chicken fat, a big salad…and then dessert.
For dessert I wanted to make something light and refreshing, and since I have a freezer full of summer fruits, I decided that strawberry sorbet would fit the bill nicely. To me, strawberries are the flavor of my birthday. We were lucky enough to have a U-pick fruit/veggie farm just around the corner from our home, so my birthday ritual was to go pick fresh strawberries with my mom the day before my birthday. We’d make cheesecake or shortcakes and top it with freshly macerated berries, instead of having birthday cake. Fresh strawberries are summer’s perfection so far as I am concerned – sweet and tartly distilled rays of sunshine.
Sorbets are the simplest of desserts, so long as you have an ice cream maker. Freeze the bowl the night before, blend up your sorbet base and chill, then let the machine turn the sorbet a few hours before you plan to serve. I don’t add nearly as much sugar as most of the recipes you’ll find in cookbooks – perfectly ripe fruit doesn’t need it. Using less sugar does mean that leftover sorbet will be rock-hard the next day, and not as scoopable as what you buy at the store. Just set the tub on the counter for about 10-15 minutes before scooping, and you’ll be in business. Or, you can always chop up the hard sorbet into cubes, and pop those into a fresh lime juice margarita – the choice is yours.
The sorbet turned out perfectly – sweet and tart, and the perfect reminder that summer will come again.
6 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
juice from 1 Meyer lemon
zest from lemon
- Freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker at least 24 hours before you plan to turn the sorbet.
- The next morning, defrost the berries. Peel the zest off the lemon in nice long strips with a vegetable peeler and set aside. Pour sugar and water into small saucepan and add lemon peel. Heat over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sugar has melted, you have a simple syrup, lightly scented with lemon. Remove the lemon peel and toss out.
- Place strawberries in a blender, and pour simple syrup over the berries. Add the juice from the meyer lemon, and puree until it is smooth, about 1-2 minutes, depending on the power of your blender.
- Taste the puree. If it needs a little additional sweetness, add a squeeze of honey. Pour the puree into a tupperware container, and chill for 4-6 hours.
- 2-3 hours before you plan to serve the sorbet, pour the puree into your frozen ice cream maker bowl, and attach the turning paddle/motor. Turn on, and let the machine turn for 30-40 minutes, until it has turned into soft sorbet. Scoop the sorbet into a tupperware container, and place in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.