Sunday, June 20, 2010

Basil Sorbet

It's been a few years, but we've finally successfully raised basil from seed. Probably not a major feat for most people, but we've never had any luck just spreading the seed and hoping for the best. This year, we used our under-heat propagators and had them started at the same time we started the tomatoes, then put them out into the greenhouse about the same time, and they are doing really, really well.

I wanted to do something different with the basil than just pesto (although I do love pesto), so I searched for a basil sorbet recipe. I found an intriguing sounding one and mostly followed it, with a couple of tweaks of my own.

Basil Lime Sorbet

• 4 cups water**
• 2 cups basil leaves, gently packed
• 1 cup fine sugar (we used organic evaporated cane sugar, and I'd use less next time)
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (I used three small fresh limes)

1. Bring water to a boil in small saucepan. Add basil leaves; cook 10 seconds. Drain and reserve cooking water, and immediately plunge basil into cold water. Drain again.

2. Return cooking water to small saucepan, add sugar, and bring back to a boil. Simmer until all sugar is dissolved, creating a simple syrup. Let cool a little, then place in refrigerator to cool completely (2-3 hours at least).

3. Puree lime juice and blanched basil leaves in blender on high speed for about 1 minute, or until you have a smooth, bright-green liquid. If you don't want leafy bits in your sorbet, pour through fine-meshed strainer; I didn't bother. Keep the juice in the refrigerator until ready to combine (see next step).

4. Once cooled, you can return everything to the blender together and reblend to mix the juice, basil & syrup properly. If you blend everything while the syrup is still hot, the basil loses its beautiful bright green; not that it changes the flavour, but it doesn't look as pretty.

5. Freeze in an ice cream maker until slushy-firm (about 25-35 minutes). You may freeze the results into a container separately in the freezer once at this consistency to firm up further, or just eat directly.

This recipe has a wonderful, unusual flavour; the basil is very much present but not overpowering. The lime juice provides a nice acidic hint, and the sugar seems to bring out the flavours of everything beautifully. I think another time that I'd like to try a watermelon sorbet recipe using basil as well... will let you know how that goes when I get around to it.

**EDIT - I highly recommend using 4 cups of raspberry juice (or, if you don't have your own raspberry juice, this might be a little pricey, so you can experiment with water and raspberry juice).

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