Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Watermelon Sorbet

Watermelon is my favorite fruit, hands down.  It's such a shame that the season here is so short, they tend to be quite expensive, and (especially this early in the season) they're not always that sweet!

I hadn't planned on watermelon this week, but there they were, on sale for $3.99 when I've seen them go for $7-8, so I had to.  But really, it wasn't that good!

What to do with a not-quite-tasty watermelon?  Turn in into sorbet!

I used to make this by hand, but last year I got an ice cream maker for my birthday, and for the whole summer I turned out a batch of something every week.  Then fall came and production slowed; by winter it was hiding in the back of a cupboard.  It seemed fitting to make my first batch of the new year with the year's first watermelon!

To make the watermelon puree, slice off pieces of melon, de-rind and de-seed, cut into chunks, and whiz through a blender or food processor.  I've seen a lot of recipes call for cups of cubed, de-seeded watermelon, but I think it's more accurate to measure the puree instead--more consistent results from batch to batch.

This recipe also was created for a not-too-sweet watermelon, as I said.  If you're using a watermelon that's just to your taste (or even too sweet), by all means, decrease the sugar.

One last thing:  it's got a slosh of liquor.  Not because I want to get tipsy on this stuff, but because the alcohol helps keep the sorbet from freezing rock-solid.  I used rum, both because it was available, and I think it goes well with the melon flavor, but it doesn't have to be rum.  Vodka is a good choice for any fruit sorbet because of its neutrality, and a number of different fruit liquers would undoubtedly be tasty too.

Watermelon Sorbet
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 cups watermelon puree
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp gold rum
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup.  Heat on low, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon puree, lemon juice, rum, and cooled sugar mixture.

If using an ice cream maker:  Refrigerate the mixture for one to two hours before freezing, following the general directions given for your model.  (I churned mine for about 20 minutes to soft-serve consistency before transferring it to the freezer, but of course your mileage may vary.)

To make by hand:  Pour the mixture into the large shallow pan and freeze until partially frozen, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Beat with a hand mixer to break up chunks and work in some air.  Return to freezer for another hour.  Beat again, freeze another hour, then beat one final time.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.

In both cases, soften in the refrigerator 20 minutes or so before serving.

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