According to my son, Alex, "This tastes just like strawberries!"
I had a lot of strawberries on hand last week – end of the season strawberries that needed something done with them or else they'd start going moldy.
I had made a couple of batches of freezer jam…I made pies…and I made sorbet.
First – I made a batch of simple syrup.
2 cups of sugar + 2 cups of water. See? Simple!
Pour the sugar and water in a pot and stir just to moisten all the sugar. Place the pot over a medium flame and heat it until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, shut off the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate it, if you wish.
Next, the strawberries. To be honest, I don't know how many cups or pounds of strawberries I started with. I just used everything I had left – I'm guessing around 5 or 6 cups before I hulled and trimmed them. After hulling them and halving them (and yes, trimming away any particularly mushy sections), I pureed most of them in my food processor and strained the juice to keep the seeds out. I kept about half a cup of strawberries out of the processor and mashed them with a tiny bit of sugar. I set these aside for later.
I had a little over 3 cups of strained strawberry puree and I combined that with 1 3/4 cups of simple syrup, stirred well, and put the mixture in the fridge for about an hour.
I apologize at this point for the scarcity of process photos.
When the strawberry base was chilled, I got my ice cream maker out and set up and found some containers to keep the sorbet in once it was ready to go in the freezer.
I also got those remaining strawberries that I'd mashed with a bit of sugar and strained the excess juice from them. I set the remaining berries aside again to mix into the sorbet later.
Once the strawberry sorbet had run its course through the machine, I stirred in the additional berries. I also drizzled in some balsamic vinegar glaze – not a lot, maybe a couple of tablespoons - and then I scraped the soft sorbet mixture into a couple of containers and popped them in the freezer.
Several days later, we dug in.
The sorbet had a delightful texture that was both icy and silky smooth. The balsamic vinegar glaze wasn't really noticeable as balsamic vinegar, but it gave the sorbet a zing that cut through the sweetness and brightened the overall flavor without providing any sort of distraction from summery taste of fresh strawberries.
My kids loved it, and so did Bill and I. In fact, Alex had a bit of Haagen Dazs Mango sorbet this evening - and he didn't like it. He wanted my strawberry sorbet instead.
Okay, I realize that choice had more to do with the flavor of mangoes vs the flavor of strawberries…but still, homemade trumps store bought any day in my book. I allowed myself a moment to pat myself on the back (figuratively, so no one would see). And laugh.
And then I went back to loading the dishwasher.
So if you find yourself with an abundance of fresh summer fruit but the thought of making a pie fills you with dread and sends you running for the air conditioner, keep your cool by making some icy, silky, delicious sorbet. No baking involvoved.