Too hot to cook. Too hot, almost, to type. I am sitting with my laptop on a pillow on my lap (it’s hotter than anything) in a lawn chair with my feet in W’s pool. Don’t do this at home. I am a professional.
So I had a brilliant, if I do say so myself, idea. I didn’t want to turn on the oven, even the stovetop, and didn’t feel much like assembling a salad or sandwich. So we picked up the phone and ordered a Paul’s Pizza (#11: pepperoni, back bacon & mushroom), got the boys packed up, picked up the pizza and headed to Stanley park (not the Vancouver one, unfortunately), where the plan was to sit in the cool of the trees and eat pizza while W played on the playground and threw rocks in the river. In reality, we pulled into the (jammed like a mall parking lot the weekend before Christmas) parking lot, me with a hot pizza on my lap and W asleep in the back seat, assessed the few hundred picnickers and half-corked rafters splayed out on every square inch of real estate, and we turned around and came home, and ate pizza in our back yard. Which was a happy ending, actually. W actually stayed asleep all evening (he typically does not shut down until 10pm, so we never really have evenings to ourselves) and so as it got dark we set up a movie on the laptop in the back yard and watched it on lawn chairs.
At that point I felt the need for something sweet and cool to sip on, and also wanted to leave you with something other than ordered pizza. I still had some black currant puree in my fridge, so decided to make a quick sorbet. (If you don’t have an ice cream machine, put it on your birthday/Christmas list. Seriously. You’ll use it! It has far more worth than a rice cooker or salad spinner or something that takes up just as much space.) Honestly – sorbet is the easiest thing ever – it’s just frozen sweetened pureed fruit. You could make it out of any type or combination of berries, juicy stone fruit (plum is good), cherries, or ripe melon. Some recipes push the fruit puree through a seive; I’d prefer to keep the fiber in there, but it’s up to you. Aim for about 2 cups for most ice cream machines. Some instruct to sweeten it with sugar; others make a simple syrup out of equal parts sugar and water, simmered on the stove to melt the sugar, then cooled completely. When your mixture is as sweet as you like it (I could give amounts, but it will totally depend on the fruit you choose, how sour it is, and how sweet you like it) make sure it’s cool, and dump it into the ice cream machine. To make a granita, which has coarse chunks of ice, you don’t even need a machine – freeze it in a cake pan and then coarsely scrape it with a fork to make chunky ice. OR – freeze it in ice cube trays or a baking pan or whatever you have, break it up into a food processor and whiz it up, put it back in the freezer, and then whiz it up again before you serve it to make it smooth. Really all an ice cream machine does is break up the large ice crystals as it freezes, which you could do in the food processor if you don’t mind going back to the freezer a few times.
So a sorbet is just pure fruit, or chocolate, or sugar and lemon juice, or whatever – no dairy; if you want to turn it into a sherbet, add about 1/2 cup of whole milk or half & half per 2 cups of puree; or more, it’s really up to you. Sherbet has milk, and then ice cream is more heavy cream – if you go further with the cream content and use less puree, you’ll end up with ice milk or ice cream instead, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. Or, freeze a tub of yogurt, with or without fruit, to make fro-yo. I’ll save more on that for another night.
So this was black currant, and I poured some ginger ale overtop of a scoop to make a float, which instantly turned a brilliant purple. I’m dying now to try some boozy floats – berry, cherry or plum sorbet with bubbly Prosecco or Muscato – lime sorbet with gin and tonic…