Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meyer Lemon Basil Sorbet (with Limoncello)


Sorbets are one of the easiest frozen treats to make.   The first time I made Ruby Red Grapefruit Sorbet, my whole family loved it.  I learned that adding a little bit of vodka helps to prevent sorbets from crystallizing-- and gives a much smoother texture.  When I make Strawberry Sorbet, I add a little kirsch.

To make a sorbet, all you need to do is make a simple syrup (fancy word for sugar dissolved into water).  Add your favorite citrus juice (or puree), and you're in business.

One of my co-workers, brought a Meyer Lemon Sorbet, with basil, and asked me to taste it. She was test-driving it for a dinner party.  I fell in love with it, and couldn't stop longing for more. That very day, I bought basil and attacked our Meyer lemon tree (supplemented by some grocery store bought Meyers).

 

I've posted a Meyer Lemon Sorbet before, but I have to say that the basil adds a very interesting dimension. It takes almost a dozen Meyer lemons to make this sorbet.  If you can't find Meyer lemons, don't sweat it. Eureka lemons would work, fine, but they are a bit more tart-- so you might want to add more sugar.

Simple sugar is so easy to make, that I'm astounded that anyone would actually buy it! Really?  The ratio is equal parts sugar, added to water.  It's brought to a boil, then simmered until the sugar is dissolved.  This is how you make "sweet tea", or "Mojitos" or sorbets.  I store mine in a canning jar, with a tight-fitting lid, and it will keep for a couple of weeks.

The difference with this sorbet, is that you add fresh basil to the simple syrup, once it's removed from the heat.  How much basil you add is up to how much you LOVE basil.  In my first batch (yes, I loved it that much), I used about 1/2 cup worth.  In my next batch, I added double the basil and let it steep for a few hours.  The darker the simple syrup turns, the more basil flavor you will have. Two hours is what I find to be ideal.   Strain the simple syrup, cover it and allow it to chill.  I did this the day before, because I like my simple syrup to be well chilled.



Day #2, prepare the lemons: You want to save about two tablespoons of the zest.

It takes a lot of lemons to make this-- like 8-12, depending on the size.  This year, my Meyer lemon tree is still in shock from being moved out of it's large container, and being planted into the ground. I was also in sticker shock at how expensive Meyer lemons are to buy!  They are so worth it, since they have a slight flavor of orange to them.

Add the lemon juice and zest to the simple syrup.  Taste it!  Depending on the lemons, you might want to decrease the sugar or add more.  I found the batch to be a wee bit tart, but luckily  I had some extra simple syrup that I had made-- and added a bit more, until it tasted just right. I used a total of 1-3/4 cups sugar and it was perfect.

Turn on the ice cream maker, and pour it in...

I added two tablespoons of Limoncello. You an add vodka, instead. Or, you can skip the alcohol. No biggie, except that you might get a bit more of a crystal texture. It tastes good, no matter what.

Twenty minutes later... dee-lishush!

 Put the sorbet into an air-tight container and freeze.  To serve, bring to room temperature, anywhere from 5-15 minutes until it's just soft enough to scoop.

Before I squeezed out the lemon juice, I cut the bottom of each lemon half so that it would stand upright.  Then I removed the pulp, and froze the lemon halves.  They make a cute serving bowl, don't you think?

These are fun to serve at a dinner party.  Especially after a rich or heavy dish.  It's a lovely palate cleanser, for sure.

TASTING NOTES:  Lemon and Basil, as a sweet frozen dessert is a lovely combination.  My husband, didn't care for the combination.  I'm fine with that, as my son and I thoroughly loved this dessert.   These have the color and flavors of Spring.   This sorbet is one of my new favorites.

A printable recipe card is below.  If you can't view it, click here to be directed to where I store all of my recipes cards at Key Ingredient.
 




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15 comments:

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

this really is a beautiful dessert - your photos are stunning! simply delicious!
Mary x

Valerie said...

You had me at Meyer lemon, and then sorbet, and then Limoncello!! I must make this. :D

Kate said...

Mmmmm...this sounds pretty tasty to me. With the Meyer lemon juice I have frozen...it is a definite possibility!

Lynn said...

This sounds very refreshing! Your photos are beautiful.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Just lovely. The lemon container is so perfect. How I wish I had a meyer lemon tree.

Joanne said...

sadly i might have to hold out until next season's meyer lemons but you can bet that if I can find some, I'll be making this ASAP!

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Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

What a pretty presentation, Debby. I love this type of dessert after a heavy meal. Basil and lemon isn't a combination I would think to try but it does sound delicious. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Easter.

TKW said...

I cannot wait to make this when the balmy days come! I also love the clever presentation!

deb said...

Oh my! I have a fondness for citrus! The sorbet is a marvelous dessert, just magical!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Love the idea of the basil in the lemon sorbet. Very creative. Your presentation is spectacular.
Sam

bellini said...

I tried a blackberry basil combination made by a foodie last summer, it adds a whole new dimension...and yes I do LOVE basil!

Chatty Crone said...

I saw you on Jerry's Blog - your food looks delish. sandie

Angie's Recipes said...

My mouth waters terribly while reading this...looks delish!

Camp Stove said...

Just lovely. The lemon container is so perfect. How I wish I had a meyer lemon tree.