Tag: Fruit

Adventures in Baking No. 20: Blueberry Sorbet!

Adventures in Baking No. 20: Blueberry Sorbet!

Yesterday I made a blueberry sorbet using the simple syrup recipe from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbet (thanks, local library!) and an improvised amount of blueberry and lemon juice puree. I’ve never had sorbet, so I was excited to see what the difference was between my creation and ice cream!

First, I made the simple syrup, which is the base for many fruit-based sorbets. Basically, you dissolve sugar in water by boiling the mixture and then letting it simmer before allowing the mixture to cool. (I think boiling the water allows for more sugar to dissolve, but don’t quote me on it.) Then I refrigerated my syrup for about an hour.

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My finished simple syrup

Next, I pureed about 4 cups of defrosted blueberries with some water and some lemon juice. This was much harder than it sounds, because the blueberries kept getting stuck under the blender’s blades, preventing the blades from actually pureeing anything. I ended up mashing the berries with a spoon before pouring them back into the blender a little at a time. This whole process took about 30 minutes (way too long for a step that was supposed to consist of chucking fruit in a blender and pushing a button).

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An action shot of my blender difficulties! Oh, the suspense!

Finally, however, I ended up with a blueberry puree that was smooth and reasonably liquid-y. Then I just mixed my puree with the simple syrup and churned the mixture in my ice cream maker. 20 minutes later, I had a sorbet!

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My sorbet at the beginning of the churning process
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My churned sorbet!

The sorbet was a beautiful purple color, with a clean, refreshing blueberry flavor. The texture was icy and smooth – definitely less fatty than an ice cream! I loved the sorbet and I was really happy that my minor improvisation worked! (No, the cookbook did not have a recipe for blueberry sorbet, but it did say that many fruit purees could be added to the simple syrup to successfully make a sorbet. So, I kind of used a recipe?)

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My sorbet, with its beautiful purple (pink? magenta?) color

I will definitely make another sorbet in the future (probably lemon, because I love lemons). For now, I’ll enjoy (and eat) my successful frozen dessert!

Baking Chronicle No. 15: Cherry Brownies!

Baking Chronicle No. 15: Cherry Brownies!

There’s a restaurant in my town that makes these amazing blackberry brownies – they’re dense, chocolate-y brownies with blackberry jam baked into the top in a beautiful, marbled pattern. I love these brownies, and so when the whim to make jam struck me, I also decided to make brownies and swirl the jam onto them in the same style as the restaurant.

I was inspired to make these with a twist (the cherry jam) because…we had frozen cherries! I’d like to say that I was inspired by summer flavors or the Bake From Scratch magazine that I’ve been reading or the cherries in my refrigerator, but the truth is that the jam flavor was need-based. We had frozen cherries, and so I used the frozen cherries.

First, I thawed my frozen fruit for about 40 minutes before pouring the cherries into a saucepan and cooking for one minute. Then, as instructed by the recipe in How to Bake Everything, I added my 1/4 cup of sugar and my 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and turned up the heat until my mixture bubbled. Then I just stirred occasionally while cooking my English muffins.

Eventually I scraped the back of my wooden spoon with a fork, and a bit of the bright red liquid came off and held together with a jam-like texture. So I took the pan off the heat and let it cool, and then I poured my “jam” into a glass bowl to keep cooling.

There was only one problem: my jam consisted of liquid and cooked, dehydrated cherries. It seemed that I hadn’t chopped my cherries small enough, and so the fruit hadn’t cooked into a mushy, jam-like mass (at least, I think that’s what’s supposed to happen).

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My jam before its magical journey to the mystical blender

I had one last-ditch effort up my sleeve, however: the blender! After the mixture had cooled, I poured it into the blender and hit the pulse setting, which (surprisingly) worked! I achieved a jammy texture and a sour cherry flavor!

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After blender-therapy, my jam had a fabulous texture!

Next, I made my favorite brownie recipe from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion and added chocolate chips and white chocolate chips before baking for 10 minutes. Then I spread my jam on top and baked for another 25 minutes, until the brownies were done.

The final result was delicious. The sour jam lifted up the intense chocolate flavor of the brownies, creating a summery and sinful treat! I will definitely make this copy-cat recipe again – but hopefully with a different flavor of jam, just to see what happens! Please feel free to post jam flavor suggestions for next time!