The other day on Facebook, the folks at King Arthur Flour suggested making strawberry sorbet. It sounded good, so I made sure to get some strawberries at the supermarket. Then I thought, why stop there? For Independence Day, a red, white, and blue bombe would be fun: A batch of strawberry sorbet, the same recipe but with blueberries, and a batch of vanilla ice cream layered in little molds.
For the sorbet, I pretty much followed the KAF recipe, but I made double the syrup and used half for the strawberry and half for the blueberry. Then I made Chef Bo’s vanilla ice cream base, which turned out better than any ice cream base I’ve ever made. I have the Cuisinart Ice-20 machine, which everyone recommends. (Actually, Cuisinart has a newer version, Ice-21, now.) The drawback is that you have to plan ahead and get the freezer bowl in the freezer well in advance, like 24 hours; alternatively, you can just leave it in the freezer all the time if you have enough room in your freezer, which I usually don’t.
Churned Berry Sorbet
adapted from the KAF recipe
2 cups water
14 ounces sugar
7½ ounces light corn syrup
1 quart fresh strawberries
24 oz fresh blueberries
4 oz lemon juice
Mix the sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring it to the boil over medium heat. Wash down the sides of the pan so the sugar doesn’t fall in later and recrystallize the sugar in the syrup. When the syrup comes to the boil, add the corn syrup. Boil the syrup for about 5 minutes. Store the syrup in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
Clean and hull the strawberries; cut them up if they’re large, as the ones from the supermarket tend to be. Put them in the food processor with 2 oz of the lemon juice and puree them.
If you want your sorbet to be smooth and uniform, strain the puree to remove the seeds and larger bits of fruit. I kind of like the rougher look and texture, so I didn’t strain mine.
Wash the blueberries, remove any stems, and puree them with the other 2 oz of lemon juice. Mix each puree with half the syrup; I got 24 oz of syrup, so 12 oz of syrup for each puree. Chill both purees; the churning goes faster if the ingredients are cold.
When the freezer bowl is frozen and the ingredients are good and cold, set up the machine, turn it on, and pour in one of the purees.
If everything’s really cold, you might be able to clean the freezer bowl and make the other batch of sorbet immediately. However, you should probably clean the freezer bowl and put it back in the freezer for a few hours first.
Vanilla Ice Cream Base
adapted from the recipe in The Professional Pastry Chef
1 vanilla bean
1 quart half and half
10 oz sugar
10 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and put the seeds and pod in a large saucepan. Add the half and half and bring it to the scald over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and yolks until they’re smooth and lemon-colored. When the half and half reaches the scald, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, stirring the egg mixture (not whisking) constantly. Return the custard to the saucepan and cook it over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard reaches 180℉. Immediately remove the saucepan from the burner. Strain the custard into a clean container and stir in the vanilla extract. Age the custard for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator. Aging improves the flavor and texture of the ice cream.
Once the ice cream base is aged, process it in the ice cream freezer. My machine doesn’t have anything like enough room for the whole batch of base, so I only churned 2 cups of base to start with.
If you have little molds for pudding or Jello, you can layer the sorbets and ice cream to make a bombe. The molds I wanted to use were too short for the bombe I had in mind, but it turns out they’re the same diameter as my English muffin rings, so I extended the molds with those. I put a layer of blueberry sorbet in the bottom of the mold and let that freeze for an hour. Then I added a layer of vanilla ice cream and let that freeze for an hour. Then I stuck an English muffin ring on the mold to hold the layer of strawberry sorbet and let that freeze for an hour.
To get the bombe out of the mold, dip the mold in a dish of hot water for about 10 seconds. Wipe off the wet mold so you don’t drip water everywhere. Turn the mold over a plate and, using the tip of a paring knife, encourage the bombe to come out of the mold. At this point, I find the ice cream needs to be tidied up a bit and put back in the freezer for a few minutes.
A scoop of each sorbet and the vanilla ice cream in a bowl would also be pretty and festive.
Friberg, Bo: Vanilla ice cream custard. In The Professional Pastry Chef. New York: John Wiley, 2002, pp 734-735.
King Arthur Flour: Strawberry sorbet. Available at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/strawberry-sorbet-recipe