Rhubarb-Rosemary Sorbet – Flathead Beacon


I first tasted a rhubarb sorbet infused with fresh rosemary at the Whitefish Farmers Market over a decade ago. Sweet Peaks Ice Cream had recently moved to town and pulled a trailer down the street for market day. My first thought was, “The flavor is so amazing!” My second thought was, “Rhubarb and rosemary grow all summer in my garden. I have to do that. This started my exploration of homemade sorbets.

It used to be that frozen desserts like sorbet and ice cream seemed like too much work. Growing up, my dad had an old electric ice cream maker that sat in a wooden bucket, surrounded by ice and rock salt, and seemed to make more noise and mess than ice cream. Modern ice cream makers may be quieter and more efficient, but they take up more space than I’m willing to devote to my small kitchen.

That’s one of the reasons I got so excited about sorbets: I don’t need a special machine. A heavy-duty immersion blender handles the mixing work, and an ounce of alcohol in the mix makes the ice crystals smaller and easier to smooth. That equates to about 3/4 teaspoon of alcohol per serving, so you won’t get tipsy. For a non-alcoholic version, substitute corn syrup for a similar effect. Stirring the mixture occasionally as it freezes also helps break up any chunks of ice, and a final hit with the mixer yields the silkiest texture.

I recommend cooking fruits that are difficult to puree, such as rhubarb and cherries. You can skip the cooking step for berries, peaches, and melons: just combine all the ingredients, including an herb like basil, mint, or lavender, and freeze.

Rhubarb-Rosemary Sorbet

Makes 1 pint

1 pound rhubarb, sliced ​​(about 4 cups)

1 cup of water

3/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons vodka or gin

1/4 tsp sea salt

In a large non-reactive saucepan, combine the rhubarb, water, honey and rosemary. Bring to a boil and cook for five to 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender and the honey has dissolved. Add water as needed to prevent the rhubarb from sticking to the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, alcohol and salt. Puree the mixture until smooth using an immersion blender; if not, transfer it to a food processor or vertical blender to puree. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan and let cool to room temperature.

Cover the pan with a plastic lid or wrap and freeze for four to six hours. Occasionally remove the mixture, stir it quickly with a fork until it forms pebble-sized pieces, then return it to the freezer. When the sorbet is almost hard, puree it to smooth it out. Refreeze the sorbet at least 1 hour before serving; transfer to a freezer-proof container for longer storage. Makes about 1 liter.

Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.

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