Category: sorbet

Flu fighting sorbet, anyone?

Now that Valentine’s Day is over & there’s one whole month until you’ll be ingesting green beer, feel free to get sick. No seriously. After reading this post, you just might not mind it so much. Okay… that’s a lie. You will. But at least this will ease your suffering just a bit.

A couple of years ago, on a hot summer night, me & my other half were being lazy, drinking some beers & watching a show on either the Food Network or the Travel Channel & it just so happened that on said show they featured Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. We were immediately attracted to the variety of hand-crafted ice creams & sorbets; specifically the ones like the cherry lambic sorbet & the whiskey pecan. Unfortunately we don’t live in Ohio, and it was the peak of summertime so there was no way we’d chance having ice cream shipped to NY, dry ice or no dry ice. And even if we had, it wouldn’t have arrived that night! So we were two sad pandas.

Cut to about two or three weeks ago… I discovered the newest thing in sorbets: the influenza sorbet. Genius! We’ve all been sick here on and off all winter, with either a mild flu-ish thing or a stomach thing or some other weird thing that gave us insane headaches, and I wish I had had some of this on hand. The idea of a FLU FIGHTING SORBET!? Holy balls. I love it. Now, apparently, the company has changed the name to the Hot Toddy sorbet because seemingly there were some idiots who thought either the sorbet contained the flu or actually cured the flu. But either way the concept & ingredients stayed the same! Orange & lemon juice, honey, ginger, cayenne pepper and of course, Maker’s Mark. Perfect for when your throat starts to hurt, and you can’t keep anything heavy down. An icy cold citrus-y delight, with a hit of bourbon & ginger, and cayenne pepper so subtle you probably won’t even know it’s there. But at $12 a pint, and it being all the way in Ohio… I knew I wasn’t getting my hands on any.

I decided I was going to come up with my own recipe and make my own version of Jeni’s infamous flu sorbetto.

But see, I don’t have Maker’s Mark. I have other bourbons. So I used Basil Hayden’s bourbon instead, because it’s a milder one, and I’m not such a crazy bourbon fan. I’ve gotta say though.. the idea of it this sorbet made me really happy. Really, really happy. And Jay has quite the selection to choose from… but I chose Basil. Of course, this is NOT Jeni’s recipe, this is my own creation. And it can be tweaked to accentuate whatever ingredient you want to be the main player. Just don’t add too much bourbon- it won’t freeze properly. And because I didn’t use an ice cream maker, it’s more of a granita. So that’s what we’ll officially call it:

Influenza Granita.

Granita (in Italian also granita siciliana) is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. Originally from Sicily, although available all over Italy (but granita in Sicily is somewhat different from the rest of Italy), it is related to sorbet and italian ice. However, in most of Sicily, it has a coarser, more crystalline texture. Food writer Jeffrey Steingarten says that “the desired texture seems to vary from city to city” on the island; on the west coast and in Palermo, it is at its chunkiest, and in the east it is nearly as smooth as sorbet.[1] This is largely the result of different freezing techniques: the smoother types are produced in a gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals. Although its texture varies from coarse to smooth, it is always different from the one of an ice cream which is creamier, and from the one of a sorbet, which is more compact; this makes granita distinct and unique.

Influenza, commonly known as the ‘flu’ , is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae, the influenza viruses. The most common symptoms are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache (often severe), coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort.[1]Although it is often confused with other influenza-like illnesses, especially the common cold, influenza is a more severe disease caused by a different type of virus.[2] Influenza may produce nausea and vomiting, particularly in children,[1] but these symptoms are more common in the unrelated gastroenteritis, which is sometimes inaccurately referred to as “stomach flu” or “24-hour flu”.[3]

INFLUENZA GRANITA, A.K.A. THE FLU FIGHTING SORBET

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed, but a low sugar or all-natural bottled variety will work)
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice, but it must be fresh squeezed!)
  • 1/4 cup regular lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus two tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon GOOD bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • anywhere from a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper, depending on taste or intensity of illness

Directions:

  1. Put the orange & lemon juices & sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over low heat to dissolve sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, raise heat to medium & add honey, 2 tablespoons of bourbon, ginger & cayenne. Stir well. Bring to a boil.
  2. Once everything is boiled, add the last teaspoon bourbon. Stir. Strain into a container and let cool to almost room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from freezer and whisk to crush ice crystals. Re-wrap and re-freeze. Continue doing this once every hour for 4-5 hours with either a whisk or a fork.
  3. Before you serve, if the mixture is still too chunky or icy, simply beat (in a cold bowl) with an electric mixer on low until fluffy. DO NOT LET IT MELT. Place it back into container and re-freeze until it sets. Serve & enjoy!

If you’ve got an ice cream maker or attachment (like I do, but I forgot to freeze the bowl before hand so I had to do this the manual way), then you can just freeze it according to the manufacturer’s directions. You’ll end up, most likely, with a smoother, softer less chunky version. More like sorbet, less like Italian ice. It doesn’t really matter what the texture is, though, as long as it isn’t just a crunchy block of ice. And even then, you could really just shave off pieces to eat. So it doesn’t matter much what you end up with. Oh- and Meyer lemons are way sweeter than regular lemons. So if you use all regular lemons, you might want to up the sugar amount. Remember: the cold lessens & dulls the sweetness of the sugar, but also remember that too much sugar will result in the same problem as too much bourbon in that it just won’t freeze properly.

Now, in no way am I telling you this will cure your flu (or your cold, or pneumonia or whatever you’re suffering with). What I will say is that there’s a lot of Vitamin C in here, and in addition honey, lemon & ginger are known for their flu-fighting properties. Cayenne pepper thins mucus, allowing you to breathe again. Plus, not only is bourbon an old-timey “helper” for all illnesses, it helps numb a sore throat a bit, as does the bracing cold iciness of the granita. No dairy to increase mucus production, either!

And if you want something hot to soothe what ails you, then you should definitely make a few jars of spiced honey. I guarantee you between this granita & some hot tea with spiced honey in it, you’ll be feeling better in no time. And if you aren’t… there’s always that NyQuil too.

P♥M Wonderful granita.

The folks at P♥M Wonderful recently e-mailed me again, asking me to make some more delicious recipes using their pomegranate juice. So of course, I obliged. Last time, I made these white chocolate pomegranate cupcakes, so this time I wanted to stay away from cupcakes. Being that it was full-blown 103° record-breaking summertime weather, I thought something cold would be more appropriate. Like granita!

Granita is:

Granita (in Italian also granita siciliana) is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings. Originally from Sicily, although available all over Italy (but granita in Sicily is somewhat different from the rest of Italy), it is related to sorbet and italian ice. However, in most of Sicily, it has a coarser, more crystalline texture. Food writer Jeffrey Steingarten says that “the desired texture seems to vary from city to city” on the island; on the west coast and in Palermo, it is at its chunkiest, and in the east it is nearly as smooth as sorbet. [1] This is largely the result of different freezing techniques: the smoother types are produced in a gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with only occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals.

Basically, to the untrained eye & palate, it’s like an italian ice, just not as smooth. I made a coarse lemon sorbet a few years back and it was so good, I decided to do something like that, but with pomegranate.

So I was sitting there wondering what exactly I would make, what kind of pomegranate ice/sorbet/granita I would create, what other flavors to add, etc. Then I remembered this recipe. I’m one of those people who prints out recipes all day and then loses them. I find recipes for everything from homemade bread to cupcakes to Italian meringue to fried chicken and print them out, with all intentions of using them, and then they disappear. I have no idea where, probably with the socks that go missing from the dryer. And this was one of those that I didn’t personally print, but my mother gave to me, asking me to make it. I lost it, found it again, and then promptly lost it for a final time. So I searched for it on the internet and whattaya know? I found it! Big thanks to Brett Moore at about.com for this. It’s originally a recipe for flourless chocolate cakes with pomegranate granita, but being that the temperature was well over 100° the day I made it, I opted to go with just the granita.

This is a coarse granita, as you can see.


P♥M WONDERFUL GRANITA

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups P♥M Wonderful pomegranate juice (or 7 pomegranates to make 3 cups juice)
  • 1/3 cup of sugar or more, to taste
  • 1/3 cup orange juice

Directions:

  1. If using P♥M Wonderful juice, set aside 3 cups of it (I used 3- 8 oz bottles of it). If using pomegranates, juice the pomegranates by cutting them in half and using a citrus reamer or juicer. Alternatively, scoop out the seeds and press out the juice through a sieve. Save some of the seeds to use as garnish if you want.
  2. In a bowl combine the pomegranate juice, sugar, and orange juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if you like it sweeter. Remember that freezing will dull the sweetness somewhat.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 9 by 13 inch pan or dish, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and place in freezer. Let the liquid freeze solid, about 3 to 4 hours. Break up the ice into large chunks and place into a bowl. Break the ice into smaller pieces with a mixer or fork (about pea size). Return the granita to the pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and return to freezer. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Since I didn’t use pomegranates and I used the P♥M Wonderful juice instead, I had no arils to garnish it with. So instead I used fresh mint from my garden (which I posted about a few days ago). This is so easy to make, and it sounds so impressive, it’s perfect for a summer party. Its as easy as mixing ingredients in a bowl, slapping them in a pan and popping it in the freezer, and when it’s really hot & you don’t feel like baking, it’s an quick fix to satisfy your sweet tooth (without having to own an ice cream maker, which I now do! Jay got me an early birthday present so now I have this!!).

Fresh Lemon Sorbet & handmade goodies!

Ahh, lemon sorbet. Does lemon sorbet even need an introduction? Does lemon sorbet in this weather need a reason?

No -but I’ll give it one. I was walking on my “fitness walk” last night, sweating, craving lemon ice. Really good lemon ice, like Lemon Ice King of Corona lemon ice… but better. Creamy, smooth lemon ice. Then it occurred to me: lemon sorbet. I thought, “Self, that sounds pretty awesome.” So, not being the kind of gal who just wishes she had lemon sorbet, I made myself some.

Lemon ice is my favorite kind of ice, and that goes for sorbet too. I love lemon flavor (and scent). This was super easy and really good. It requires no mixers, no ice cream makers, none of that. However it tastes like a lot more work goes into it, so when you make it tell people you slaved over it all day. Or, tell the truth and say “It was nothing.” They probably won’t believe you anyway and you’ll look like a genius. “I make my own lemon sorbet.” I mean really, how good does that sound? It’s actually more granita-ish in texture than sorbet… but whatever.

LEMON SORBET

Get these things together:

  • 1/3 cup lemon zest
  • 1 cup strained fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water*

Then you will:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Add lemon zest. Stir until mixture comes to a boil; boil 2 minute.
  2. Add the lemon juice, stir well. Remove from heat, cool, and strain. Pour cooled mixture into a shallow container, cover, and freeze overnight.
  3. Pour into container, cover, and place mixture in the freezer.
  4. When it is semi-solid, mash it up with a fork and refreeze again. When frozen, place in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Cover and refreeze until serving time.

NOTE: Can be prepared 3 days in advance. Cover and keep frozen.

Supposedly makes 8 servings. I garnished the servings with fresh mint, but you could use lemon slices, candied lemon rind, whatever. Or leave them plain.

*I actually used more water, maybe another cup and a half? I wanted to make more servings, I doubted that this recipe could make 8. Obviously I’m insane, because it does indeed and now I have like a gallon of this stuff. Well not really a gallon but a big ass Tupperware full. Not like its going to go to waste or anything though..

Let me just state for the record; its so much cooler to be the type of chick that actually makes her own sorbet than to be the kind of chick who thinks its cooler to buy it.

I left it chunky and icy, partially because I was too lazy to blender-ize it and partially because I just really wanted to eat some right away, but if you ran it through the blender, then scooped it out you’d get a smoother sorbet. This way, it was more like an icee or whatever.

I’d also like to take this time to make you all jealous again, because the ever-so-talented-with-a-needle-and-thread Yoyo sent me a set of awesome coasters she made, and…. they match my Coke Zero cans! Coke Zero is my crack, in case you didn’t know.

Look at the cold, frosty goodness of that can!


I’m fairly sure if doctors were to do intense testing on me they’d discover that inside my veins flows ice cold Coke Zero. Which would actually explain a lot. But anyway… enough about me. I love my coasters! Seriously, how cute are they? Thank you so much Yoyo! If you wanna buy some of Yoyo’s awesomeness for yourself, go to her Artfire shop by clicking here.