This time of year I start craving berries - raspberries and blueberries and strawberries. They're my favorite fruits and their relatively short seasons make them a special treat. Strawberry season strikes first here in New England and for now, they're the berry I'm primarily eating. I've been buying them in huge quantities, always forgetting that they need to be used in relatively short order if I don't plan on freezing them. I found myself with quite a few strawberries to use recently and I wanted to make a cold treat. I'm not actually a huge fan of strawberry ice cream so that was ruled out, but strawberry sorbet - that sounded perfect!
The nice thing about sorbet is that it's so simple to throw together. You only need a few basic ingredients - the berries, sugar, lemon juice, salt and a little alcohol, if you're so inclined. First, the strawberries are macerated in the sugar, which makes them irresistibly delicious and juicy. Ever since I tasted my first macerated strawberry I've been in love with them and rarely do I eat strawberries now without first macerating them! The strawberries and their juices are pureed along with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and then, if you like, strained to remove all of those pesky seeds so your sorbet will be luxurious and smooth. I skipped the liquor in my sorbet so it froze quite hard, but a few minutes on the counter before scooping solved the problem. Liquor helps keep the sorbet soft and if that's your preferred consistency, you'll want to include the kirsch. The sorbet is refreshing and sweet with intense strawberry flavor, a wonderful treat you'll want to try this berry season!
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1 pound (450 g) strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1 teaspoon kirsch (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
In a medium bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar (and kirsch, if using), stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Let stand, covered, for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Puree the strawberries and their liquid along with the lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. If desired, strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds.
Chill the strawberry mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Yields about 3 cups