Oh my gosh what an awesome sherbet I made tonight. I bought an ice cream freezer on clearance at Kroger last summer – think I picked it up for 10 bucks – and it's been a really useful appliance. It's small enough I can set it on a towel on the floor, and strong enough to churn for an hour if I need it to. Really a good deal. Anyway, a few months ago I was tempted to try the orange sherbet recipe in my Cooks Illustrated magazine. The sherbet turned out awesome – way better then any of the ice cream I had made myself, that had turned out more ice then cream. The sherbet was smooth and ultimately orangy to the bottom of each bite. It tasted like a better version of my favorite sherbet, the push-up pops I used to buy at the snack bar of Fondren Middle School. It's funny how just about every Generation X/Y'er I know immediately knows exactly what I'm describing when I talk to them about those push pops – I think they were everyone's favorite ice cream treat.
Anyway, I was looking for a good sherbet recipe, and then this issue came along. This recipe has cream and sugar in it, but not as much as in ice cream, so it's good for you (yeah right!). Well, it's at least good.
So last week I bought 4 pints of just fresh Michigan blueberries. By the way, these berries totally kick anything from Texas' ass in terms of size, sweetness and lasting quality. The berries stayed fresh and sweet in the fridge for nearly 6 days after I cleaned them. So in lies my problem. I had at least 2 pints left and they were starting to go bad – getting a little mealy, some were molding. I decided to try and make a blueberry version of the orange sherbet I had loved so much out of Cooks Illustrated. I pulled out the mag, and they had a recipe in their for a modification with raspberries. I went ahead with it, thinking that I couldn't be far off with blues. Boy, did it turn out grand. The final product, after 35 minutes of churning, looks something like a cross between ice cream and grape Bubbilicious. It tastes absolutely outstanding – blueberry flavor infused in the creamy sherbet. Wow what a confection. I couldn't stop licking my spatula as I packed it into a container for curing.
Here's the recipe:
Cook's Illustrated Blueberry Sherbet
3 cups fresh blueberries (Michigan if you can get 'em)
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. Salt
3 tbsp. lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
2 tbsp. Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec or Vodka, even)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1. In a medium non-reactive saucepan cook blueberries, sugar salt and water over medium heat until mixture just begins to simmer, about 7 minutes (or until the blueberries have surrendered all their juice)
2. Strain the mixture into a bowl, pressing on the skins to release as much juice as possible
3. Add lemon juice and Grand Marnier (adding lemon juice with a reamer is easiest done through the strainer to prevent lemon seeds from getting into the blueberry mixture)
4. Cover and chill to 40 degrees – do not let it freeze! (I left it in the fridge overnight)
5. Prepare your ice cream freezer
6. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the blueberry mixture in a steady stream along the side of the bowl, whisking constantly.
7. Imeediately pour mixture into the freezer and churn for 20-35 minutes, until mixture has consistency of soft serve ice cream
8. Taste as much of it as you can bear, and pack the rest into a container. Press plastic wrap against the sherbet and cure in the freezer for at least a few hours, if you can stand it
A little less sugar might make this better – maybe 1/2 cup? Blueberries are much sweeter then raspberries, so maybe less sugar would lighten up the flavor, which was cloyingly sweet – still amazingly good, though! Also – go ahead an whip the cream by hand. It's not that hard, only takes about 5 minutes, and makes you feel like you're doing something.