It’s been a struggle to wake up each day and read the news. Everything from racial tensions and political chaos in our country to this natural disaster called Hurricane Harvey and the absolute devastation left in its wake, has left a lot of us feeling down and out. Like a lot of you, I feel helpless, so I donated and hope that the little bit I threw into the pot will help someone down the line. There’s really not much else I can do.
I don’t avoid bad news, in fact I get sucked into it every day, but I also seek out happy stuff on the internet: puppies, and pretty clothes, and pictures of delicious looking food. And that’s what I’m here to do: take your minds off the sad and the bad for just a minute and take a step into my quirky little world.
So, my daughter and I made a trip to Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, and greeting us as we walked in was a large display of boxes of peaches for $5.99. I opened a box, smelled them and touched them and determined they were perfectly ripe, so grabbed a box and moved on.
$197.65 later we left with not only the peaches, but also some wine, frozen brown rice, cookie butter cheesecake squares, olive oil, pasta, frozen tuna steaks (which reminds me, I should really get those bad boys out of the freezer and fire up the grill this weekend), Persian cucumbers, cheese, more wine, and a bunch of other stuff. I set a rule for myself when we headed out for the day’s shopping trip that we could not purchase more than what we could place into our 3 reusable shopping bags. We achieved that goal, with the help of a wine box of course, because why in the world would I have the wine bottles take up valuable real estate in my shopping bags, when they are better suited to transport in a box? But that’s probably way more than you needed to know.
The peaches sat on the counter for a few days. We ate a few, and they were absolutely delicious: perfectly ripe, super flavorful, no bruising, and freestone, so they were easy to slice. But after a few days I worried that they were going to go to waste if I didn’t do something with them. We just weren’t going to eat them all. So I got online, opened Pinterest and searched for Peach Desserts. I considered crisps and cobblers and crumbles (oh my!) but decided that a peach sorbet was what these peaches called for. They had such good flavor, I knew they would make the perfect sorbet. Unfortunately, I don’t have an ice cream maker, but I had heard that you can make sorbet in your food processor.
After a quick search, I landed at Making Thyme for Health, and found a recipe for peach sorbet made in the food processor. It used honey instead of all that sugar, so it sounded healthier and looked refreshing. It turned out perfectly. I did make a few minor tweaks (I know, the most annoying phrase to anyone who has ever posted a recipe). I chose to skip the lemon because my peaches had such a nice flavor, I didn’t want to add any additional tartness. That said, lemon juice is high in pectin, which is why it’s used when making jam, so I suspect the extra pectin helps in the smoothness of the sorbet (but I’m no scientist, so don’t hold me to that). *By the way, if you are interested in making perfect sorbet, I suggest you check out Serious Eats and learn all about how the ratio of sugar to fruit is so important when it comes to the texture of the finished product. My husband has a degree in biochemistry, and for a short time owned a chocolate shop in Lexington KY. He also made and sold ice cream and sorbet so he, too, is well versed in the mechanics of making frozen treats. I wasn’t out to make the creamy, sugar-ratio-perfect batch of sorbet, so I stuck with my original plan.
The next tweak I made to the original recipe was to blend it in two batches. My food processor must not be as big as hers, because I just couldn’t do it all in one batch; it became a frozen mass that wouldn’t puree. It could have been that my peaches were a little larger than the ones she used, because I found I had to use a little bit more almond milk than the recipe called for to get it creamy and less icy. The controversial part of this recipe is the use of honey instead of sugar. According to Serious Eats, honey is not a good choice due to both the flavor it adds as well as its sweetness. I wanted to make my sorbet a little bit healthier so I skipped the sugar (and the suggested corn syrup) and stuck with Making Thyme’s recipe with honey. I thought it tasted delicious, my husband thought it could have used more sugar. Whatever, he’s a perfectionist. He said the texture was more like a granita than a sorbet, but I thought it was much smoother than a granita, which is typically coarse. I’ll let you judge your own batch!
So, how is sorbet different from sherbet and ice cream? I always thought that sorbet was just fruit juice without any cream, so the addition of almond milk in the recipe threw me for a minute. By definition, sorbet is dairy free. Sherbet, on the other hand, must have milkfat content between 1% and 2%. If the frozen concoction has a milkfat content 10% or more, it is ice cream. Anything falling between 2% and 10% is a “frozen dairy dessert.” According to Wikipedia, “use of the term sorbet is unregulated and is most commonly used with non-dairy, fruit juice water ice products.” Since the almond milk is non-dairy, adding it to the sorbet doesn’t change the fact that it is, indeed, sorbet. And, it lends a nice creamy texture and good flavor.
Please visit Making Thyme for Health to see her photos and original recipe. It turned out so well I decided to make kiwi, blueberry, and cantaloupe. The kiwi turned out great – it looks like and tastes like kiwi fruit, but I have to admit I was surprised at the slight peppery taste on the palate. I Googled this and it turns out that kiwi seeds can taste peppery. I had never heard that before, and honestly I don’t remember tasting a pepper flavor when eating kiwis, but to be fair, I don’t eat a lot of kiwis. And, to be completely honest, the peppery flavor is a nice complement to the sweetness of the sorbet. I haven’t gotten around to making the cantaloupe yet, but once I do, I will update the post.
Sadly, my blueberry sorbet was a complete disaster. It started out good: immediately after I had the frozen blueberries blended with the almond milk and honey, it tasted fantastic. But when I pulled it out of the freezer the next day to thaw a little before scooping, it became a gelatinous mass. Blueberries are very high in pectin, which in theory should produce a nice creamy sorbet, so I’m not sure exactly where I went wrong. Still under investigation!
5 peaches, diced with skins on, discard pits
1/3 cup almond milk, classic sweetened
2 tablespoons honey
Wash the peaches and dice into small pieces. Place the peached into a 1 gallon zip top bag and lay it flat in the freezer. Freeze at least 6-8 hours. Remove from freezer and break up the chunks in the bag. It they are too hard, you may need to let it sit for a couple minutes at room temperature, but do not allow them to thaw. Put half of the peaches into a food processor with a blade attachment and pulse a few times to break up the frozen chunks. Then turn on and slowly add half of the almond milk and 1 tablespoon of the honey. Process until it has a creamy texture. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remaining peaches, almond milk, and honey. *If you have a large enough food processor you can do this in one step. For me, it worked better to split it up. Put both batches back together and process again for a few seconds until blended. Immediately spread the mixture into a glass loaf pan. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the sorbet, and carefully press it down so the plastic wrap is touching the top of the sorbet, and seal the edges. Place back into the freezer for a few hours. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes until it is soft enough to scoop.
6 kiwi fruit, washed, cut in half, and the insides scooped out
1/3 cup almond milk, classic sweetened
3 tablespoons honey
Dice the kiwi into small pieces and place in a 1 gallon zip top bag. Lay flat in your freezer and freeze for 6-8 hours. Remove from the freezer, break up the chunks, adding half of them to your food processor and using the blade attachment, pulse a few times to break up the chunks. Turn on the food processor and slowly add half of the almond milk and half of the honey. Remove to a bowl and repeat with the remaining fruit, milk and honey. *If you have a large enough food processor you can do this in one step. Put both batches back together and process again for a few seconds until well blended. Immediately spread the mixture into a glass loaf pan (or any pan, really). Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the sorbet, and carefully press it down so the plastic wrap is touching the top of the sorbet, and seal the edges. Place back into the freezer for a few hours. When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes until it is soft enough to scoop.
After the initial freeze of the sorbet, I scooped it into airtight BPA-free plastic containers to store in my freezer. The glass loaf pans precariously stacked in my freezer were annoying me!