I’m going through a real sorbet / ice cream-making phase right now. If you follow me on Instagram (and how can you not?!), you saw me make a vanilla bean ice cream a few weeks ago, and a Concord grape sorbet more recently. Not only was it fun to dig out my old ice cream maker (it’s nothing fancy; just a crappy old Cuisinart, with a canister I keep in the freezer), but it’s been EXTRA fun to have homemade frozen treats waiting for me every night after dinner. I have a real sweet tooth, but eating a whole dessert every night is a lot, so I just have a spoonful or two of homemade ice cream or sorbet, and I’m good.
Yesterday, I was at the farmer’s market and I decided to brave the line at the only organic stand (they’re so popular, they scared away all the others). As I gathered up heirloom tomatoes and zucchini, I spied really gorgeous strawberries. Even though strawberries are more of a spring thing (aren’t they?), these specimens were pretty undeniable.
I mean: who could say no to these?
As I lounged around reading the Sunday Times, I contemplated what I’d do with these berries. Obviously, I was going to take out my ice cream maker, it was just a question of ice cream vs. sorbet.
A lot of the articles that I read about strawberry ice cream spoke of the challenge of texture; that a strawberry puree would make for icy patches, etc. Plus most of the recipes involved many, many steps, like letting the strawberries steep with sugar and vodka for a few hours. Who has time for that?
As I turned to the world of sorbet, many of the recipes had you cook the berries. These berries were so beautiful and tasted so good, something about that felt very wrong. Wasn’t there a recipe that’d let me preserve that raw berry flavor?
Which is when I hit upon the most insane sorbet recipe I’ve ever encountered: Amanda Hesser’s take on The River Cafe’s recipe which has you blend a WHOLE LEMON along with TWO POUNDS of berries and two cups of sugar. That’s it. You churn that. Say WHAT?
I knew that I had to try it.
Luckily, I had a lemon: so I just sliced it, picked out the seeds, chopped it some more, and threw it into my food processor with two cups of sugar.
That’s what it looks like all blended up. That went into a bowl, and in went the two pounds of hulled berries.
When those were blended, I folded the two mixtures together and added a big splash of Campari because alcohol helps sorbet not get too hard in the freezer (plus: Campari seemed like a good idea).
This all went straight into the ice cream maker (it was a lot of liquid, may have been smarter to do this in batches) and I churned away while I did all of the dishes.
Thirty minutes later, I had this Whole Lemon Strawberry Sorbet:
What did it taste like?
Pow! It was so punchy and exciting and very, very sweet. But that raw berry flavor that I wanted was there, along with the bitterness and acidity of the lemon. The texture is kind-of viscous. But it’s unlike any sorbet you’ve had before, and the process is undeniably easy.
So if you see strawberries at the market, grab yourself a lemon and break out that ice cream maker. The zippiest strawberry sorbet you’ve ever had is just thirty minutes away.
Whole Lemon Strawberry Sorbet
- 1 whole lemon, seeded and roughly chopped (plus more for juice)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled
- Put the chopped lemon and the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Place in a bowl.
- Puree the strawberries in the same food processor and add to the lemon mixture, plus some lemon juice to taste.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn until thick.
Related Strawberry Content:
How To Store Strawberries (Amateur Gourmet)
Strawberry Granita (David Lebovitz)
Strawberry Sorbet (Serious Eats)
Strawberry Sorbet (Food & Wine)
Fresh Strawberry Sorbet (Bon Appetit)