How to Make a Nectarine Rosé Sorbet with Lemon Verbena
I have never been able to resist all the magnificent fruit that is available in mid-summer, but this year my self control is stretched way beyond its usual limits – granted it doesn’t take much. With our Pacific Northwest summer’s rather late start and so far none of the intense heat that is prevailing nearly everywhere else in the country, the abundance of fruit choices seems even greater. Usually by now apricots and cherries would be waning, which would help narrow my choices a little, but not this year. And I can’t remember the last time I could even consider fresh rhubarb—one of my very favorite springtime treats—in August! Consequently, my fruit bowl runneth over, and my refrigerator is bulging with containers of berries and cherries that I just couldn’t say no to.
Perhaps I am so quick to abandon any restraint with my summer fruit purchases because I have no worries about what I’ll do when the mounds of overripe fruit inevitably pile up. After all, it is summer and the perfect time to enjoy icy cool fresh fruit sorbets. If you’ve never made sorbet with an ice cream maker, I promise you that alone is reason enough to buy one. The relatively inexpensive models that require a canister that is frozen overnight work incredibly well and I’ve solved that pesky issue of planning ahead by creating a permanent space in my freezer for it.
Homemade sorbet is so smooth and satisfying when it’s freshly made that you could swear there was cream in it. Yet it consists of nothing more than fresh fruit — the riper the better — that has been gently simmered in a simple syrup and puréed. The simple syrup can be made with a variety of liquids and infused with herbs or spices to add your own unique twist. As long as you start with a lot of sweet, ripe fruit, it’s hard to go wrong. One of my absolute favorites is a nectarine sorbet made with dry rosé and lemon verbena. It’s a delicious finish to a backyard barbecue and if you want to fancy it up a bit, just add a bottle of chilled Prosecco – splash it on your sorbet, in your glass, or both!
- 1 large lemon
- 1/2 C sugar
- 2 C dry rosé wine
- 2 lbs fresh nectarines, quartered, pits removed
- Optional: 6 lemon verbena leaves or lemon balm
- Peel lemon zest with a vegetable peeler, being careful to leave the white pith behind. Cut into julienne strips and reserve lemon for another use. Combine wine with lemon zest and sugar in a noncorrosive saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add nectarines and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until very soft. Strain the liquid and reserve. Purée solids with ¼ cup poaching liquid and lemon verbena, if using, in a food processor or blender, then strain through a fine sieve. Add remaining poaching liquid and cool. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Freeze the sorbet in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Pour into another vessel and refrigerate until the mixture reaches at least 40 degrees F, 4 to 6 hours.
Adapted from Sorbets by Jim Tarantino