Friday, December 12, 2008

The minimalist

Sorbet? Let’s Make It Short and Sweet


THE first time I made this sorbet I was ridiculously happy, and I can almost guarantee that you will be, too. It is the epitome of a minimalist recipe, requiring no exotic ingredients, no technique and virtually no time.

If you can shop and press the button on your food processor you can make this sorbet — and make it while you are loading the dishwasher with plates from dinner.

Why sorbet, now? Because its main ingredient is frozen fruit, which is requisite here. Frozen fruits, and vegetables for that matter, are picked when ripe and suspended in their ripeness until you’re ready to use them.

No fruit is as good frozen as perfectly fresh, of course, and many are next to useless, especially when thawed. But frozen fruit is convenient: strawberries are already hulled, mangoes peeled and cubed, peaches are seeded and sliced. It is also relatively cheap. And being frozen makes it a pretty good starting place for a frozen dessert.

So: begin with a bag of your favorite frozen fruit. Put it in the food processor with some yogurt, sugar and a bit of water. Turn the machine on and process until you get the consistency you are after; be careful not to over-process it or you will have a smoothie.

You can be adventurous, too. I made a sorbet using frozen cherries and four ounces of melted, cooled bittersweet chocolate instead of sugar. Rather spectacular.

And not only will you not have to buy an ice cream maker, but you will never again pay $4 for a pint of sorbet.

1 pound frozen strawberries or other fruit
1/2 cup yogurt, crème fraîche or silken
1/4 cup sugar, more or less.

1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor container along with a couple of tablespoons of water. Process until just puréed and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. If the fruit does not break down completely, add a little more water through the feed tube, a tablespoon or two at a time, being careful not to over-process or the sorbet will liquefy.
2. Serve immediately or freeze it for later; if serving later, allow 10 to 15 minutes for sorbet to soften at room temperature.
Yield: At least 4 servings.