Red and all things nice, apt for the summer, when you are flooded with strawberries and other berries. Sadly, I have to say that with the adverse weather conditions in Austria this summer, the normal 6-7 weeks of the strawberry seasons stretching from mid-May to end of June, lasted about one week, boo hoo ! However, our next door neighbour, Germany, seems to be churning out strawberries and in mid-summer, August, the supermarkets are now flooded with German strawberries. So, the other day, my wife came back with a 500g pack of very red strawberries and with weather conditions extremely humid and around 30 C, I thought perfect time to make one of my all time favourite summer Italian inspired delights, Sorbetto al fraglione (in English Strawberry Sorbet).
You'll be glad to know that it is so easy and can be ready for dessert in a short time, provided of course you give some extra freezing time. Before you rush into the kitchen, I have to warn you that you'll ideally need an ice cream machine. It isn't 100% necessary, but it makes it a lot easier. First, you need to make a sugar syrup – yes ! that's right – for all those sugar haters – there's no way you can get away with freezing a fruit, except perhaps the sweetest sugary fruit (ready to eat apples), without adding sugar to it. If you don't, you'll end up throwing your attempt at sorbet down the drain, because it will taste like fruit with all the natural sweetness squeezed out, yuk ! After that "you need sugar syrup" lesson, what exactly do I mean ? Put about 70ml of water, 120g of caster sugar and lemon zest from one lemon into a saucepan ad cook on medium heat until the sugar dissolves – take it off the heat to cool – about 1 hour. After that, hull and cut about 300g of fresh strawberries into half sizes and place into a blender with the sugar syrup and lemon juice from one lemon until smooth. This should make about 500g/500ml of sorbet. Place the mixture into the fridge for further cooling. When you are ready, just put the mixture into your ice cream machine and churn for about 15-20 minutes and it is ready. However, I recommend put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes if you want to serve that same day. Otherwise, because sorbet has a lot of water in it, you should take it out at least 10 minutes before you want to serve it, as it will be too hard.
For serving suggestions, you can give to the kids to cool them down in a small tea cup
Or if you are serving it after dinner to friends, place a generous scoop into a wine glass or an a small saucer, where the scoop should fit neatly into the dent usually reserved for the tea cup.
If you don't have an ice cream machine, shame on you, go an buy one… just joking ! place the blended mixture into the freezer and check it after about 1 hour, let it get some heat, mix thoroughly to break any water crystals and place back into the freezer.
If you prefer other fruit, use the same principle, i.e. 300 g of pineapple for example, which is what I did last year and was my calendar picture for July 2009 on my "tasty calendar", available on Zazzle.
If you want to double the size, use about 200-250g of caster sugar and 130ml of water for the sugar syrup, using about 500-600g of fruit – this should make about 900ml of sorbet. Now, go and make yourself some sorbet and cool down on this fine hot day if you are blessed with hot weather.
Inspired by a recipe in Buonissimo cookbook and a strong desire to cool off in the summer with something cold and sweet