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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cool, delicious, red and sweet

"Cool, deIicious, red and sweet". Oh, can only mean of summer's sweetest fruits. When our kids were young, we had an "old fashioned" ice cream freezer and hand cranked it at every occasion. (I think the electric freezers are a real improvement!!). We made "anything but plain" vanilla and chocolate, creamy frozen custards and fruity flavors like fresh peach, blackberry and pumpkin. The flavor and velvety texture of handmade ice cream (to say nothing of the fun of licking the paddle) can't be topped. I found this recipe that is sure to cool down the hottest day and make an already delcious part of summer eating, even better. Go grab a spoon and an electric ice cream freezer and get cranking!

Watermelon sorbet is one of the best summer desserts that's ever been invented. Because the fruit is so naturally sweet, you only need to add a little bit of sugar syrup. Makes 1 quart.

3-4 cups cubed watermelon (about the amount in a quarter of a whole mid-sized watermelon)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1-2 tablespoons vodka (do not use a flavored one)

Tip: Have your ice cream maker prepared by placing the drum in your freezer for at least 24-hours before you plan to make this dessert. Also try to make this sorbet at least 8 hours before you plan to serve it, giving it time to be fully frozen.
Tip: The vodka keeps the sorbet from freezing into a solid block of ice after you place it in the freezer but it adds no discernable taste. If you cannot or don't want alcohol in your sorbet, be attentive to how long you freeze the finished mixture before you serve it or else leave at room temperature for some period before serving it so that it softens bit.

In a saucepan combine the sugar and the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook at a low boil or high simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and let cool. This sugar syrup can be made in advance and refrigerated until you're ready to use it.

Prepare your watermelon by cutting the pieces from the inner, darkest part of the melon where it's the sweetest, and make the effort to remove all the seeds, including the little white ones.
Place the cubes of melon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the fruit is completely smooth and liquefied. Pour the puréed fruit through a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl or a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Press down on any fruit that remains in the sieve so as to extract all the juice. This captures any seeds you may have missed. Discard anything collected in the sieve.

Combine the strained watermelon purée with the sugar syrup. You should have about 4 cups of dark pink, very sweet purée that has a strong watermelon flavor. Cover and place in the refrigerator until it's well chilled, at least an hour and maybe longer depending on how cooled the syrup was.
When the purée and syrup mixture is very cold, add the vodka and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to its manufacturer's instructions.
When fully thickened and slushy and frozen (this may take 20 or so minutes), transfer to a plastic container and place in the freezer to finish reaching its finished frozen state.

Enjoy every bite!

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