Monday, March 3, 2014

Meyer Lemon Sorbet

We had a few leftover Meyer lemons sitting around the other evening and I decided to make another sorbet. We don't have an ice cream maker, but I've been making sorbets without one for years using just one simple technique. Here's how I do it.

Look anywhere online and you'll no doubt find an abundance of recipes for a simple Meyer Lemon sorbet like the one below. That was my starting point.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest

To make this without a machine, start by reducing the water by half and creating a simple syrup. Combine the sugar and half of water on the stove over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup begins to boil, and then remove from the heat.

At this point I like to add my zest. The sooner you add the zest, the more flavor it will infuse into the hot syrup. On the other hand, it will also candy the zest a bit, giving it a bit more weight in the sorbet.

When the syrup has cooled down quite a bit, stir in the Meyer lemon juice. By waiting until the syrup has cooled, the fresh flavor of the Meyer lemons will remain unchanged. Can you taste the difference between fresh-squeezed orange juice, and pasteurized (rapidly heated)? Same thing.

Chill the mixture in the freezer for at least 1-2 hours until the syrup just begins to freeze. You'll see a distinct change in color from clear to white. Because the syrup contains so much sugar, you can actually leave this mixture in the freezer longer and it will not freeze completely solid.

Finally, toss a decent amount of ice into a blender and crush it before pouring in your syrup and blending until totally smooth. Remember, you previous reduced the amount of water in the recipe by half, so here's where you want to add that same amount back in.

With no scientific evidence to prove it, I think that you can actually add even more ice than the water that you took out because the flavor remains on the outside of the crushed ice, instead of penetrating in where your tongue cannot get to it.

And that's it! With that one simple technique, you can turn almost any previously out-of-reach sorbet recipe into a delicious treat.

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