Olivia Dish

Perfect Strawberry Sherbet

In Homemade, Local Flavor, Sweets on June 11, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Get me a Biore pore strip–those seeds have got to go!

I hate the seeds on the outside of strawberries.

I always wish I could use one of those pore cleansing strips and rip them off.

And when I’ve made ice cream with the seedy things, not only have I despised the texture but I’ve always found the taste to be a sort of cloying sick-sweet.  Maybe I’ve had too much medicine in my life that tasted of strawberries.

You might wonder why I bothered, then, to make my own strawberry sherbet.

I’m not sure.

I kept watching other people at the farmers’ market buy fresh local strawberries.  They were so durned happy about it.  I wanted some of that happy for myself, I guess.

So, I systematically (well sort of systematically and sort of haphazardly) started to address the things that make me go ick.

Step 1: seed removal.  I wanted to use fresh strawberries, not cook them, so I macerated a batch in a little brown sugar and pureed them in the food processor.  I strained the whole mess through fine mesh and extracted their thick, juicy, seedless essence.

Fresh mint takes it from okay to amazing.

Step 2:  getting rid of that awful sicky-sweet flavor.  I made my first batch of strawberry sherbet adding some orange juice.  That helped.

Then, thinking about my base recipe–from Cook’s Illustrated–I made a second batch using the zest of some oranges plus juice.  Even better.

Finally, I decided to experiment by adding a handful of fresh mint from my yard.  Sher-bingo! Sher-zaam! Straw-loha! Yessirberry sher-bob!

So here’s how the perfect seedless strawberry sherbet has come together for me:

1 quart fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 medium-sized oranges
3-4 sprigs fresh mint
1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of bourbon
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Wash, trim and quarter the strawberries. Mix them in a bowl with the brown sugar and salt. Set aside.

Zest the two oranges with a microplane grater and combine the zest, granulated sugar and mint in a food processor.  Pulse until everything is thoroughly blended. Squeeze the juice from the two oranges, add the juice plus the tablespoon of bourbon to the food processor and blend some more. Put a fine mesh strainer over a clean bowl and dump the flavored sugar/orange juice in to strain.

A fine mesh strainer gets rid of those hideous seeds.

Next, in the food processor, pulse the strawberries until they are reduced to a juicy pulp, then pour into the strainer.  (Straining the strawberry juice will take a while. Stirring and pressing the strawberry pulp will help speed this but may also push some seeds into your mixture, fyi.)  Once most of the strawberry liquid has strained into the bowl, take away the strainer (and the ick), mix the seedless strawberry essence/juice with a whisk to make sure all sugar is dissolved, then put the juice bowl into the refrigerator.

The Cook’s Illustrated article about sherbet has been a great starting point for me. But I like to use less sugar than their recipes call for.

In yet another bowl, whip 2/3 cup of heavy cream until it forms peaks.  Take the strawberry juice from the refrigerator and taste it.  If it is too tart, add a little honey to sweeten to your taste.  Then, with beaters at low speed, blend the strawberry juice mixture into the whipped cream.  Put everything into an ice cream maker and freeze.

I achieved perfection, of course, with the last of this season’s berries.  So maybe I’ll next look into using frozen strawberries and roasting them, as suggested by Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  Or I might attempt the same approach with other fresh berries–though my first go at blueberries, I’ll tell you, was more than a little disappointing.

For basic sherbet recipes and techniques, I found this article in Cook’s Illustrated to be incredibly useful.


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