Monday, June 14, 2010

Raspberry and Lemon-Mint Sorbet with Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

World Cup fever is raging. This became apparent to me yesterday as I was working in the kitchen and heard my husband yelling at the television “Come on! Come on!! What’s wrong with you??” England (referred to as ‘Team BP’ by the yeller) was playing the U.S., and our nation’s honor was on the line in the Boyle-Eggleston household, as it was in bars and homes all over the U.S.  

Happily, we tied, which, because of our lowly status in the team pecking order, was the equivalent of a win reminiscent of the Revolutionary War. As the sporting war raged, I was ensconced in my own world, calmly making sorbet, one of my favorite desserts. I fell in love with the refreshing tartness of lemon sorbet as a child. 

You couldn’t get it in the supermarket back then, but my father would take me to a place called Home Made, an ice cream shop in Northern N.J. that specialized in homemade ice cream and sorbets (though I think they called them ‘ices’ instead of ‘sorbets’). Home Made has been closed for over 20 years, but the memory of that simple, tart lemon sorbet is as fresh as ever. Fortunately, sorbet is one of the simplest desserts to make. Yes, it requires chilling and 

freezing, but the hands-on time in the kitchen is next to nothing, allowing you plenty of time to watch the next World cup match. Homemade cookies, such as my Pistachio Shortbread Cookies, 

are a natural accompaniment. The cookies, by the way, are also great with very finely chopped dried cherries added to the dough for some color and a pop of flavor. 

Go U.S.A!

Raspberry Sorbet
Makes about 1 quart

4 cups (466 g) fresh raspberries
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Process the raspberries, sugar, water and lemon juice in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until well chilled.
2. Process in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

Lemon-Mint Sorbet

Makes about 1 quart

2 ½ cups water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, just until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the lemon zest and mint, cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until well chilled.
2. Process in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
From The Good Cookie (Wiley, 2002)

Makes 46 cookies
Storage: in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Special Equipment: 2-inch fluted or scalloped round cookie cutter

1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachio nuts*
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk

*Note: If you can only find salted nuts, place the shelled nuts in a sieve and rinse them in running water. Dry the nuts thoroughly with absorbant paper towels.

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
2. Place the pistachios and 1/4 cup of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and pulse until blended. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar at medium-high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk at low speed and mix until blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the dry ingredients at low speed, mixing until combined.
4. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface and knead it a few times until it is smooth. Divide it in half and shape each half into a disc. Place one of the discs on a large piece of waxed paper. Place another piece of waxed paper over it and, using a rolling pin, roll it out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Carefully peel off the top piece of waxed paper. Replace it loosely and flip over the dough. Peel off the top piece of waxed paper. Using a 2-inch fluted or scalloped round cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible from the dough. Gather up the scraps and reroll them between sheets of waxed paper.
5. Arrange the cookies, 1/2 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 10 to 15 minutes, until just lightly colored around edges. (Watch the cookies carefully as their color changes very quickly.) Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

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