We all made it halfway through the year, it's the peak of summer, air is warm and the cotton is high. All this warm humid air and bright sunny skies has blessed us with the best produce summer could provide. If you noticed, stone fruit seasoned started not too long ago around early June and it is just getting better as the weeks go by. The nectarines, peaches, plums, pluots are all getting sweeter by the day. Besides snacking on them fresh, what other ways could we appreciate this beautiful season without turning on the oven? Because honey, no ones wants to stand in front of a hot oven when it's already 90 degrees outside!
Well, we shall make a Sorbet! Sorbets are a fantastic and refreshing frozen treat perfect for summer. They are like ice cream, smooth and sweet but minus the cream, eggs, cornstarch and all that jazz. They are mainly made from the best ripest fruit available, sugar syrup and a hint of alcohol (just to prevent those little ice crystals from forming too much)
In this recipe, I will be using the ripest, most fragrant white nectarines. They are incredibly sweet, luscious and are just perfect. These are served with a few fresh fruit cuts but you can leave them out if you wish. Also, I later found out today that fresh mint leaves taste absolutely amazing paired with white nectarines. I can't put to words how amazing they are, you just have to try it yourself! So let's get to it ;)
Step 2: Start With Best Fruit You Can Get Your Hands On
Let's begin by acknowledging that we must get our hands on the best produce available. Pick stone fruits, in this case white nectarines, that are ripe. They should give a little when you press them firmly without bruising immediately. Smell them at the store, if they have an intoxicating sweet aroma, it means not only it is ripe but will be very sweet. White nectarines similar to white peaches, do not have any tartness whatsoever, we will combat that later with a little citric acid to balance out their sweetness.
So in this recipe, you will need about 3lbs of Ripe White Nectarines.
Step 3: Macerate Your Fruit
3lbs of ripe white nectarines, cored, peeled and roughly cut
1/8 cup of white granulated sugar
A pinch of Salt
First, core your nectarines and peel their skin. If your stone fruit is cling stone, meaning it doesn't pull away from it's pit easily, peel the fruit's skin first and the cut the fruit away around the pit. Once completed, pour 1/8 cup of your white granulated sugar and salt, Mix and let it macerate for a few minutes while you prepare the sugar syrup.
Macerating your fruit will draw out some of its natural juices and amplifying their natural fruit flavor.
Step 4: Make Your Sugar Syrup
1 cup of white granulated sugar
1/4 cup of water
Pour your sugar and water into a small sauce pot and turn your heat to medium high. Let the sugar dissolve completely and let it boil for 1 minute. Then remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
Step 5: Sorbet Ingredients
3lbs of white nectarines, cored and peeled
Sugar syrup mixture
1/2 tablespoon of Citric acid
1 tablespoon of plain or mild tasting liquor ( I used Rose flavored vodka)
Place all of your nectarines into a blender, together with your sugar syrup, citric acid and liquor. Blend them until completely smooth and pureed.
* The reason why I chose to used Citric acid is because I would like to add a little bit of tartness and freshness back into the nectarines. Previously, I mentioned that white nectarines do not have any tartness whatsoever, adding a little bit of citric acid adds a little bit of sourness without having it pucker too much or have lemon/ lime flavor distracting it's natural peachy/nectarine-y flavor. Also, adding a tablespoon of liquor helps to prevent the sorbet from crystallizing too much that might accidentally caused it to turned into a big block of ice instead.*
Blend your ingredients together until it becomes a very smooth puree. Strain your puree to prevent any skin that might linger in your base. If you do not mind specks of fruit skin in your base, by all means skip this step.
Once smooth and strained, cover your puree with a saran wrap and let it sit in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour to ensure it is very cold. Cold enough that it is starting to set around the edges of the bowl.
*Before proceeding to the next step, I would like to remind the readers that if you are using a churner, make sure to freeze your churner bowls at least 24 hours or more prior to churning. Ensure that the coolant has froze completely as this will make your base into frozen delicacies very quickly. A not-so-cold bowl will do nothing but spin for hours with no yield*
also..for those readers using a no-churn method. Simply churn your mixture by hand with a whisk or a hand held mixture for every hour until it starts to set into a thicker mixture. Then, let it set for another hour or two so it will be a scoop-able consistency.
So moving on..
Pour your chilled sorbet base into your ice cream churner and let it churn for a couple of minutes until it starts to thicken into a soft-served consistency. Then place your sorbet into a pre-chilled bread loaf pan or an ice cream gallon container. This recipe will make 2 pints or 3/4 gallon. Then place your sorbet into the freezer again to completely harden and set.
I chilled my sorbet overnight and enjoyed it the next day. Let it sit on the counter for approximately 3-5 minutes and then using a ice cream scooper, scoop a nice round serving. Even though the sorbet is solid, it scoops like butter and have a delicate smooth texture (thanks to the sugar syrup and vodka!). It does not have an icy texture like a granita and turns into a beautiful ball like a dairy ice cream is able to.
Place into your serving bowl and serve immediately. If you wish, serve alongside some fresh cut fruits and sprig of mint leaf.
Little did I knew that fresh peppermint leaves taste so amazing with white nectarines. The minty herby freshness compliments the sweet nectarine flavor, cuts the sweetness and gave it a burst flavor. It reminded me of warm sunny days in the Mediterranean. So I chiffonade some sprigs of mint leaves and sprinkled it over my sorbet, simple perfect.
First Prize in the
Frozen Treats Challenge