For many years, I have coveted an ice-cream machine. I could have settled for one of those things you stick in the freezer, then remove and churn manually or get a little clip-on motor. But no, I wanted the serious thing, one that has a built-in freezer and makes lots of noise. Then, last week, I finally got one. Agonisingly, I had a few things to do and had to wait three long days to try it out. I think part of the fun of a new gadget is getting it home and using it right away. Anyway, my to-do list cleared, I spent all of Sunday trying it out.
To start with, I made a champagne sorbet. Rather unusually, I had half a bottle in the fridge (I can assure you that “left-over champagne” is a rare occurrence in this house). The result was lovely. Smooth, light and quite boozy. In fact, I think I ate too much of it without thinking how much alcohol it contained.
Satisfied that the machine worked, I got a little more serious and made a proper fruit sorbet using fresh English strawberries. I looked for small, bright red fruit, as the little berries are sweeter and more flavoursome than the giant varieties that are all talk and no action. Indeed, with strawberries, the smaller, the better. Think about wild strawberries – tiny, a lot of work to pick, but they have an amazing flavour.
I made a sorbet as I actually prefer them to ice-cream. The flavour is fresher and lighter, and more suited to summer. Strawberry is, in my view, one of the classics and really does bring a little of the summer sun with it.
The recipe I used is really simple – make a sugar syrup, puree the strawberries, combine, chill in the fridge, then pop into ice-cream maker. After the machine did its thing (I left it in another room due to the noise), I got to try an utterly sublime result. The sorbet is silky-smooth, with little bursts of intense strawberry flavour. The flavour was fantastic and the colour was stunning – a vivid, natural pink colour.
It’s going to be a good summer. I just wonder how many frozen treats we can all take? We’ll find out.
To make just under 2 litres of sorbet:
• 720ml strawberry puree (around 800g of whole strawberries)
• 200g white sugar (or less, to taste)
• 120ml water
• juice of 1 lemon
• teaspoon of liquid glucose
Put the sugar, water, lemon juice and glucose into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then allow to cool.
In the meantime, rinse the strawberries. Remove the stalks and hulls (if necessary), then puree. You can strain if you want to remove the seeds, but I didn’t and the result was great. Combine the puree and the syrup, and allow to chill in the fridge.
Place the mixture into your ice-cream maker and process until frozen.
Worth making? Yes! This is one of the best sorbets I have ever had. The flavour is fresh, bright and intense. This is really worth trying, as it knocks a lot of commercial sorbets out of the water. I think I’ll be making this a lot over the summer months.