Recipes: 'The Perfect Scoop'

Nectarine Sorbet i i
Nectarine Sorbet

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These recipes appear in The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz, Ten Speed Press, 2007.

Nectarine Sorbet

Makes about 1 quart

 

There's a curious custom in Gascony, a region in the southwest of France known for its full-bodied red wines (its famous neighbor is Bordeaux). When they've just about finished their soup, the locals tip a little bit of the red wine from their glass into their soup bowl, mingling the wine with the last few spoonfuls of the broth.

I later discovered that this custom is equally good with a goblet of sorbet when I was scrambling to figure out a way to make this rosy nectarine sorbet a bit more special for an impromptu dinner party. I simply scooped sorbet into my guests' wine glasses at the table and let them pour in as little (or as much) red wine as they wished. It was a big success. If you have time to think ahead, prepare a big bowl of sweet, juicy berries and sliced nectarines, and let your guests add some fruit to their sorbet too.

 

6 ripe nectarines (about 2 pounds)

2/3 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kirsch, or 1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

Slice the nectarines in half and remove the pits. Cut the unpeeled nectarines into small chunks and cook them with the water in a medium, nonreactive saucepan, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they're soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add a bit more water if necessary during cooking.

Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let cool to room temperature. When cool, purée the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the kirsch or lemon juice.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

 

VARIATION: For Peach Sorbet, substitute 7 large, ripe peaches for the nectarines. Remove the skins prior to cutting them into chunks.

PERFECT PAIRINGS: If you like the idea of red wine with Nectarine Sorbet ... serve it in goblets and pass a bottle of fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais, Brouilly, or Merlot.

Melon Granita

Melon Granita

Makes about 3 cups

 

Either cantaloupe or honeydew melon makes a wonderful granita. Use the best you find at the market. Be sure to heft a few and take a sniff to find the sweetest specimen.

 

1 medium-sized melon (2 pounds)

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

1/4 cup water

Pinch of salt

 

Peel the melon, split it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut the melon into chunks and purée in a blender or food processor with the sugar, lemon or lime juice, water, and salt until completely smooth.

To freeze granita, pour the mixture into the dish and place in the freezer. Begin checking it after about 1 hour. Once it begins to freeze around the edges, take a fork and stir the mixture, breaking up the frozen parts near the edges into smaller chunks and raking them toward the center.

Return the dish to the freezer, then check the mixture every 30 minutes afterward, stirring each time and breaking up any large chunks into small pieces with a fork, until you have beautiful, fine crystals of homemade granita. If at any time, the granite freezes too hard, simply leave it out at room temperature for few minutes until it softens enough to be stirred again with fork, and rake it back into crystals. Then return it to the freezer.

Marshmallow sauce tops a dish of ice cream.

Marshmallow Sauce

Makes 2 cups

 

I love sticky marshmallow sauce perhaps more than anything else on earth. When it's spooned over a hot fudge sundae, the combination sends me skyward to heaven. Make it for yourself and see what all the fuss is about. This sauce must be made just before serving, as it doesn't hold well. But it never lasts long around my house, and I don't think you'll have any trouble finding someone to help you finish it all up rather quickly either.

 

3/4 cup cold water

1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored powdered gelatin

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 large egg white

Big pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Pour 1/2 cup of the cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top; set aside. In a small, heavy-duty saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the remaining 1/4 cup water with the sugar and corn syrup. Put the egg white in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.

Bring the sugar syrup to a boil. When the syrup reaches about 225°F, begin beating the egg white with the salt. Once the syrup reaches 240°F and the egg white is stiff, pour the hot syrup into the mixer bowl in a slow stream while beating on medium-high speed. (Aim the syrup between the whip and the side of the bowl to keep the syrup from clinging to the whip.)

Once you've added all the syrup, scrape the softened gelatin into the warm saucepan and stir, allowing the heat of the pan to melt the gelatin. Pour the gelatin into the egg white mixture while whipping, as you did with the sugar syrup. Continue to beat until the mixture cools to room temperature, then whip in the vanilla. Serve this sauce as soon as possible after it's made.

Tartufi

Makes 8 tartufi

 

Tartufo means "truffle" in Italian and refers to how these ice cream mounds look when dipped in pure chocolate, which forms a neat, crispy coating for a favorite ice cream. You can make them any size you wish, but I usually make mine about golf ball size (about 2 ounces each) and serve two per person. The trick to making tartufi is to work rather quickly and neatly. Keep the ice cream mounds in the freezer until the absolute last moment prior to dipping.

 

2 cups ice cream

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup

 

Line two large dinner plates with plastic wrap or parchment paper and put them in the freezer. Once the plates are chilled, use an ice cream scoop to make balls of your favorite ice cream, setting them on one of the plates. Take care that the scoops are solid and well formed, with no dangling bits of ice cream; use your hands if necessary. Freeze the ice cream scoops thoroughly.

To dip the tartufi, melt the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, remove the bowl of chocolate from the improvised double boiler. Remove the ice cream balls from the freezer, and the second plate as well.

Here the trick is to going to be to try to get as thin a shell as possible around the ice cream. Using two soup spoons, drop a frozen scoop of ice cream into the melted chocolate mixture and toss it quickly until it's coated. Transfer it onto the unused dinner plate. Repeat with the remaining scoops of ice cream, then return the scoops to the freezer until ready to serve.

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