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Single Parent Week & Strawberry-Basil Sorbet

Posted May 28 2009 1:15pm
Apologies for my absence these past few days. Kevin left Sunday morning for a trip to Bloomington, IN, home of our doctoral alma mater, Indiana University. He's ensconced in ancient texts in the Lilly Library all week (although he freely admitted to absconding for a few hours to watch the European Champion League soccer match).

Meanwhile, I'm home alone with the Nickster who, while adorable, sweet, and fun, is exhausting--and demanding (e.g., "Mommy, take that phone out of your ear!"). I have been cooking, and photographing, but by the time Nick is tucked in, I'm wiped out.

But I cannot bear being away another moment, so here I am, typing outside while Nick plays with toy dinosaurs at my feet.

The subject I've been burning to blog of is noting short of extraordinary: Strawberry-Basil Sorbet.

Unlike the majority of my dessert creations, this was for a special occasion: Kevin's and my 6th wedding anniversary. Much like our wedding, our anniversary dinner was a quiet, intimate affair. Kevin made a pasta with portobellos and sausage and I made the dessert. I had planned on making a regular strawberry sorbet, but as I boiled the simple syrup, I mentioned to Kevin that I might try adding basil in a future batch.

"Why not add it now?" he asked.

Why not indeed. So I did.

We have a good crop of basil this year: lemon-basil, purple basil, and Italian basil. I picked a mix, and added them to the syrup, letting them steep for a about 15 minutes before straining.

The rest of the sorbet is a snap, pretty much puree, chill, then freeze. I like to add a tablespoon of alcohol to all of my sorbets; it's a tip I picked up from Sara Moulton (she is fabulous) on one of her cooking shows years ago. The small addition changes the finished texture of any sorbet from icy to creamy.

Apologies for the brevity of this post, but single parenthood calls (it sounds like this: " MOMMY!!!!!!!!")

Strawberry-Basil Sorbet

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
4 cups quartered hulled fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vodka or orange liqueur

Combine water, sugar, and basil leaves in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes; strain through fine mesh sieve (discard basil) and chill until cold.

Puree quartered strawberries in blender or processor until smooth. Add lime juice, vodka or liqueur, and basil sugar syrup; process until blended. Chill mixture until cold, about 1 hour.

Transfer strawberry mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon sorbet into container; cover and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Makes about 4 cups (Eight 1/2-cup servings).
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