I Played Pastry Chef Today.

I don’t disagree with anyone who says that I need to work on my photography skills. I’m going to post pictures of my (finally!) finished sorbet, but they’re not good pictures. The flavor of the finished product, though, is another story. Definitely worth the wait and frustration! Especially when served with chocolate.

sorbet plateOkay, so it’s mostly chilled soup. But that’s just what happens when I basically plate it directly from the machine after churning it for only about 30 minutes. Normally I’d churn it for 30 minutes and then put it in the freezer for about two hours, but remember, I waited two days longer than I planned for this. Who can blame me for my haste?

My plan for this plate was a little more clean and elaborate than what I got, but let me just remind you that I’m not in school yet (12 more days!!). I’m just having fun practicing and learning as I go. Anyway, on one of the plates I was going for an almond tuile bowl with raspberry sorbet topped with fresh raspberries and decorated with a chocolate curl on the side, and raspberry curd swirls and chocolate chunks on the bottom of the plate. On the other two I wanted again some raspberry curd on the plate first, then a sorbet quenelle, topped with a flat almond tuile and fresh raspberries. In my defense, I pretty much had that before my sorbet turned to soup. The tempered chocolate décor did make it onto each plate even though you can’t see it, and I’m pretty pleased about that!

So let’s talk more about this infamous raspberry sorbet. Is it hard to make? Nope, not when your ice cream machine freezes properly. First things first, you’ll want to get your simple syrup base started so it can cool. Combine one cup each of sugar and water in a small pot, and boil for 2-3 minutes or so until the sugar is dissolved completely. Then you’ll let that cool to room temperature while you’re prepping the raspberries.

 

Ras1Put three cups of washed and thoroughly dried raspberries into a food processor along with a splash of fresh lime juice and puree them. It’s really up to you how long you process them – I like my sorbet as smooth as possible so I keep the processor running for a while.

After they’re pureed, push through a sieve to remove the seeds.

Ras2Want to save time and frustration? Get a bigger sieve than I have. I’m pretty sure it took a half an hour to get the two cups of puree. But with a four-inch sieve, I’m asking for it.

 
ras3Once your simple syrup is cooled to room temperature, slowly stir it into the raspberry puree. When combined, add a quarter cup of light corn syrup and stir well. I find that the mixture freezes faster in the ice cream machine if you chill it anywhere from 4-8 hours before using.

 

While my base was chilling, I made the almond tuile cookies. I’d never made them before, but they’re such a great addition to a dessert with their mild flavor and crisp texture. They were easy too, with only a few ingredients to throw together.

almond

Start by boiling the butter for 2-3 minutes, until you can see light brown solids at the bottom of the pan. Stir occasionally to keep it from burning. Then add brown sugar, salt, light corn syrup, and milk. This recipe works best with whole milk or heavy cream but I didn’t have either on hand, so half and half did the trick. When the mixture is completely combined, add the flour and oats. Fold in the almonds last.

You’ll end up with a very thick dough of sorts, and if you’re like me you’ll look at it and think, how the heck will this make paper-thin cookies? But trust me – they’ll thin out (and spread!) in the oven.

almond2In fact, it’s because they spread so much that you really don’t want to use more than a teaspoon or two per cookie, and keep them a good few inches apart on your baking sheet. These took about 10-12 minutes to bake, which I thought was a bit long. But you’ll know when they’re done – obviously you want to give them time to thin out and spread, and they should have some color. Let them rest on the sheet for 3-4 minutes, and then remove them.

The fun part with these is molding them any way you want. If you choose to do this, you need to work quickly before they set. My first couple were pretty strangely shaped while I worked on getting my timing right, but I made a few small bowls by resting the soft cookies on the bottom of an overturned cup to allow them to set.

almond3Easy! My scrap pieces disappeared quickly – these are best eaten just a few minutes after baking! The ones I planned to use later were closely guarded by me to make sure they weren’t munched on unintentionally.

 

A few hours later, it’s time to finish up the sorbet! This is the easy part, as long as you know how long your ice cream machine typically takes to churn a batch of sorbet. Mine takes about 20-30 minutes.

When you first pour your base into the machine, it’ll stay a liquid for a good 5-10 minutes. You’ll see ice crystals slowly begin to form, giving the sorbet a slush-like consistency.

sorbetAfter about 20 minutes, it begins to freeze to a lower temperature and thicken up.

sorbet2When it reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream (you can test that by spooning a small amount out of the machine and noticing if the rest of the sorbet stays indented), transfer it from the machine to another container. It can be served as-is if you like your sorbet soft (but don’t let it sit out long!), or you can let it freeze for another few hours.

If you want to get a little fancy and present the sorbet on a plate, you can make raspberry curd to add an artistic look to the presentation. It’s not complicated to make, but I’ll go over the process later when I use it in another recipe. I see chocolate raspberry Danish in my future!

So, there you have it. The long-awaited raspberry sorbet. With all these summer berries around, I can’t think of a more satisfying way to enjoy them while beating the heat!

sorbet plate2

 

RASPBERRY SORBET

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

  • 3 cups washed and dried fresh raspberries
  • 1/8 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

Bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the sugar dissolves completely. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Put the raspberries and lime juice in a food processor and puree until smooth. Push the mixture through a sieve with a rubber spatula to strain out the seeds (this is optional; if you like the texture of the seeds, leave them in. I often strain the raspberries and then add a tablespoon of the seeds back in).

Combine the sugar and water with the raspberry puree once it has cooled completely, and stir in the corn syrup. For best results, chill the mixture for a few hours, or you can pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately or transfer to another container and place the sorbet in the freezer to firm up.

ALMOND LACE TUILE

Makes about 6 dozen cookies

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 T whole milk (heavy cream or half and half will work too)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 T AP flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Bring the butter to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a low boil for 2-3 minutes, or until solids at the bottom of the pan appear light brown.

Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, salt, milk or cream, and corn syrup to the butter and stir well. Stir in the oats, flour, and vanilla. Fold in the chopped almonds.

Drop 1-2 teaspoons of batter onto the baking sheet and space the cookies at least three inches apart. Bake for 6-10 minutes, or until cookies spread very thin and brown slightly around the edges.

Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes, then remove with a thin metal spatula. Place them either on a flat cooling rack to set, or mold them into desired shapes.

 

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