02 August 2013

Making sorbet mountains out of strawberry molehills (now with basil)

Outside of Quebec City in Canada lies a mysteriously beautiful little island that poops out the best strawberries this side of the planet that are not genetically engineered; it is called l'Île d'Orléans (Island of Orleans).

My cousin, RayRay, and my brother, Subordinate Chow along with Minimai picked a mounded box of fresh strawberries from l'Île Orléans and only ate five from the box cause they had gorged on them at the U-pick and refused to eat any more.

And of course, the garden is once again overrun with basil.

Pair these two annoying harvests together and you've got music, or at least this strawberry and basil sorbet.

Strawberry basil sorbet, always dairy-free. The ice cream scoop (a lovely gift from La Popoteuse) looks like it was involved in a murder. Because it was. 
In trying to figure out what to do with the strawberries, I learned that the main difference between sherbet and sorbet is not just a couple of letters! They both use pretty much the same ingredients (sometimes including alcohol, used to lower the freezing temperature) but the key difference is as follows:
  • Sherbet: Contains milk, gelatin, or egg whites, usually butterfat content between 1% and 2%. 
  • Sorbet: No dairy, egg or gelatin. Good for the lactose intolerant. 
So here's to getting rid of an excess of strawberries, especially overripe ones.

Strawberry basil sorbet
(makes about 1 litre)
Inspired by Alton Brown and A Cook and a Geek
  • 2.5 litres of whole strawberries
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup (75ml) light corn syrup (** corn syrup is less likely subject to crystallize than simple sugar syrup **)
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • 3 Tbs (45ml) lemon or lime juice
  • 1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10ml) lemon or lime zest (use a Microplane grater to get finer zests (not an endorsement... just saying))
  • 2 Tbs (30 ml) vodka (** makes it easier to scoop but is optional **)
  1. Blend the bollocks out of the strawberries in a blender or food processor.
  2. Add to the blender the sugar and syrup, vodka, lemon juice and zest.
  3. Roll up the basil leaves into cigars to slice them thinly without crushing them (chiffonade), then put them in the blender and pulse until evenly combined. 
  4. Freeze in ice cream/frozen yogurt, as per the instructions for your contraption.
Russian vodka is an excellent solute for freezing-point depression and post-exam depression. 
(And for those who hate basil, such as Frawley, you can refrain from using basil and instead use something like mint (using about the same amount) or experiment with lavender or pepper (though frankly, picking strawberry seeds from your teeth is enough of a pain in the arse that probably does not complement picking ground pepper out at the same time...)).

Bonus photo: [Left] My cousin RayRay and brother Subordinate Chow at Montmorency Falls circa 1989 and [right] circa 2013.