The summer days are already getting shorter. In the morning you can feel the tang of autumn in the air. Is it time to unpack the sweaters and break out the long pants? Not yet. We are not ones to be fooled. We know there are still some sultry days left to the season. Plus, with the Labor Day holiday coming up you may still want to sneak in some summer style desserts.
This summer we had two nice opportunity converge: my mother lent us her ice cream and sorbet maker and our friend Dominick Mastrangelo, a talented photographer, asked us to do a summer-time food photo shoot. We are only too happy to share the results of both!
This was my first foray into making sorbet and I was struck by how incredibly easy it is. It takes a little bit of planning, because you want to make sure that the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker and your fruit and simple syrup puree have time to chill for effective blending, but that’s it.
Sorbet is composed of two main ingredients: simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water) and a fruit puree. Start there, go anywhere. I use slightly less simple syrup then most sorbet recipes call for. I love fruit and dislike things that are overly sweet. I think that fruits like mangoes are sweet enough on their own! However, if you like it sweeter just double the sugar and water in this recipe. The ratio for a simple syrup is always 1 part sugar to 1 part water.
Mango Lemongrass Sorbet with Chili and Lime
For the simple syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 small chilis, chopped roughly
1/2 lemon grass stalk, roughly chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the water boils and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool for several minutes, and then strain out the lemongrass and the chili. Set aside.
For the fruit puree:
2 to 3 ripe mangoes
Simple syrup (see above)
Chili powder (optional)
Kosher salt or coarse sea salt (optional)
Peel the mangoes and place them in a food processor or powerful blender. Halve the lime and squeeze the juice over the mango pieces. Add a dusting of chili powder and a pinch of salt if you want an extra kick. Pour in the simple syrup and mix/blend. Pour the puree into a bowl and refrigerate until cold. You can even make this a day or two ahead of time (be sure your bowl or container is covered in the fridge). If you are impatient you can put the bowl in the freezer, just don’t forget about it!
To make sorbet:
Follow the directions on your sorbet or ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Serve with cut up strawberries and a mint leaf (though I couldn’t wait for it to be served, I just ate it right out of the bowl of the ice cream maker!).
“But wait, I don’t have an ice cream maker!” You might say. Do not fear. To cheat if you don’t have an ice cream maker simply freeze your puree until almost frozen solid (a few hours) then take out of the freezer and blend or mix in the food processor. You might need to freeze it again a little bit, but it’s a pretty close approximation of what you can get in an ice cream maker. At least it works in a pinch! Enjoy the late summer.