Wow! It tastes like pizza! said a friend when I gave him a scoop.
That’s not exactly what you want to hear when you’re making a dessert sorbet, right?
Inspired by some fresh berries and an abundance of basil sitting on my counter, I made this sorbet for a party last month. I was surprised at how much everyone seemed to enjoy it (the pizza comment notwithstanding). And no, I don’t think my friend really meant that the sorbet tasted like tomatoes and cheese, but rather that the fresh basil was surprising and basil makes him think of pizza. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
But the comment got me thinking and clearly had an impact since I could not let it go. What is dessert and what isn’t?
How savory can you go and still call it “dessert?”
The lines seems to have been blurred more in the last decade and there’s been a lot of crossover between savory and sweet. Maybe we should blame the bacon frenzy which seems to have percolated into every food stuff on the planet, particularly the sweet stuff (pig candy anyone?). While this sorbet is not the salty-sweet combo so popular in desserts now, the addition of the savory basil adds a unique and fragrant flavor contrast with the sweetness of the berries.
I made the sorbet again this past weekend and, because I could not resist, I asked “do you think it tastes like pizza?”
My guests looked at me like I was on crack and reassured me that it most certainly did not.
Do you have any unusual sorbet or ice cream flavors you like to make? How do people react when they try them? Leave a comment below and let me know!
4 cups mixed berries*
1 lime (juice only)
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp berry kirsch*
1/2 oz fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade**
Ingredient Notes: Berries: I used 2 cups hulled strawberries, 1 cup blackberries, 1 cup blueberries Kirsch: I used this because I had it, but even neutral flavored alcohol will work. Alcohol does not freeze and helps keep the sorbet from freezing rock solid. I could not even taste it in the sorbet. You can leave it out if you don’t want to include alcohol in the recipe. Chiffonade: French for “made of rags” it is a method of cutting herbs or lettuce into fine strips. Go here to see the cutting technique.
In a small pot combine the water and sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves to make a simple syrup. Let cool.
Clean and wash the berries. Place them in a food processor or blender and puree. Add the simple syrup and the lime juice and puree to combine.
Strain the berry puree to remove the seeds through a fine mesh strainer. It’s a lot of work to push it through, but straining the puree gives the finished sorbet a lovely smooth texture. Chill the strained puree until cold.
Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s directions. Right before it is done, when the sorbet is thick, add in the alcohol and sliced basil and allow it to mix in. Transfer the sorbet into a freezer container and freeze until firm.