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cucumber & mint sorbet

In desserts, gluten free, sorbet, summer, sweets, vegan, vegetarian on 22 December, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I’m only repeating what everyone around me has been saying, but whoa. Where did this year go? I can’t believe we’re only three days out from Christmas. And finally, it seems, after a week of torrential rain and cloudy skies that weirdly got me really down and unmotivated to do anything Christmas-like, the sun’s out. And it looks like it’ll stay. Summer is here!

I’ll keep this post relatively short because I’m sitting barefoot in the grass on my lunch break, squintily typing away while not knowing exactly what’s going on the screen. But I really wanted to share this sorbet before Christmas, you know, just in case you need a couple more things to add to your to-make list (mine is, luckily, pretty light since I’m going to Christmas dinner at my relatives’ place). Yes, you can enjoy a sorbet anytime during the summer (and all year round, if you ask me) but I just had this fleeting thought that this cool green sorbet would be more somewhat Christms-appropriate served alongside a bowl of strawberries, or you know, something bright red and festive.

I’ve been wanting to make cucumber sorbet for a while (Laura of Hungry and Frozen made a luscious-looking cucumber-lychee one earlier this year) but it hasn’t really been a priority: I have a growing list of about 16 different frozen dessert flavour combinations I want to make, and cucumber-mint was just one of them.

But on Sunday I found myself at the market clutching my last 50-cent piece, wondering if I could get one more thing. And then I realised I was standing directly in front of a box of 50-cent cucumbers. And I remembered cucumber-mint on my sorbet list, and my mint plant was getting pretty bushy… done.

Sunday turned out to be the first sunny day in what felt like an eternity but really was about a week straight of rain. Even though it was still a bit chilly I thought it’d be appropriate to celebrate the return of the sun by making sorbet that very day.

I can totally recommend making this too. It’s super easy to put together, and all you need to plan for if you’re making this for a special occasion is the time it takes to freeze (several hours, at least). And the flavour is divine: it’s without a doubt cucumbery, but not in a salady* way. It’s cool and sweet, almost watermelon-like in flavour, with the mint giving it a beguiling herbaceousness that doesn’t jump out at you but coolly sidles in alongside the cucumber. And then, long after the freezing-cold ice thaws in your mouth there’s a hauntingly minty chill. Yes, so refreshing.

Okay! So now that I’ve told you all that I’ve got to get out of the sun and back to work (just in time, too; I don’t think my eyes can squint any more than they already are,** and I’m starting to sweat from the heat of the sun).

Just a quick note – the recipe below makes about (very roughly measured by me, after I’d already eaten some, whoops!) 400ml so if you’re feeding more than 3-4 people I’d make a double batch. Enjoy!

*my goodness, can you tell it’s the silly season, my brain has turned to mush and my adjectives have turned… adjective-y.

**apologies for any typos. I’m really having a hard time seeing the screen!

CUCUMBER AND MINT SORBET
(makes about 400ml)

150g sugar
¾ cup water
handful of mint
300g cucmber, diced*

First, make some mint syrup: place sugar, water and mint in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring a bit to dissolve the sugar, until it reaches boiling point and the sugar has dissolved. Let cool.

While the syrup is cooling, cut up the cucumber and puree it (it’s probably best to use a food processor for this – I used a blender and it didn’t really work because it wasn’t liquidy enough. If you only have a blender, don’t fret – you can get it to a nicer consistency once you add the syrup in the next step).

Add the cooled syrup to the cucumber puree and blend until it’s a nice, smooth consistency. Strain out the pulpy bits using a sieve. Optionally, you could add an egg white here to prevent the sorbet from going all icy in texture, especially if you’re not using a food processor, but I didn’t have any handy so I used a tablespoonful of Hendrick’s gin** for the same purpose.

Freeze. If you have an ice cream maker, great – follow the instructions. I’ve never owned an ice cream maker so instead I just try to give the sorbet regular stirs as it freezes in order to break up the ice crystals that form. Giving it a couple of whizzes in the food processor during the freezing process made this fairly painless, too.

Before serving, let it sit out for a few minutes to soften up and become ultra-scoopable. Delicious!

*you can peel it if you like, but I didn’t bother – I liked the extra-deep green the skin added to the colour, and you strain out the pulpy bits anyway so you don’t need to worry about texture. Plus… more nutrients? Maybe?

*Cause really, does Hendrick’s and cucumber not just scream summer?

Edited to add: I’m submitting this post to the Sweet New Zealand blogging event, started by Alessandra and hosted this month by Bron - you can see all this month’s entries here.

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  1. Glad you posted this, it will be a perfect accompaniment to all those strawberries starting to appear in my garden. Also, wondering how a small scoop floating in a large glass of Pimms might taste!

  2. Hendricks and cucumber! Want! Was considering stocking up on cucumbers to make another batch of this, but now I’m wondering if there’s some kind of wonderful cucumber-gin slushy drink that could be created to combine the two things together?

    I love the scattered mint leaves and the little spoon, very sweet.

    • Ooh yes, I was starting to run out of ice last week and let some melt in a gin and tonic but I like your idea of going one step further and making a slushy drink with cucumbers and gin… if only the sun would come back!

  3. The sorbet looks beautiful, I love the colour!

    Best wishes for a wonderful Xmas and a Happy New Year!

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  4. So fresh looking and perfectly festive with some berries, though I do agree, that sorbet ( & ice cream) are perfect all year round.

    • I’m eating some now while wrapped in a blanket – a southerly’s hit (along with buckets of rain) so yes, this brings back memories of winter sorbet/ice-cream eating… still very good! ;)

  5. This looks beautiful and sounds like it would taste amazing as a palette cleanser too-so cool and refreshing. I think it would be great to pour some cold gin on top just before serving or add some jalapeno to the cucumber puree to give it a bit of heat with the cool.

    The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com

    • Thanks! Gin is great with cucumber-y things and I love the idea of adding some jalapeno for some heat… will have to try that next time around, I’ll definitely be making this again :)

  6. It looks beautiful too and just I time for the lovely weather. Hope you had a fabulous Christmas. x

  7. Mmmm, this sounds like the perfect thing to have any day! Even better that it’s green (love the colour). I have only tried making ice cream once and not looked properly at most recipes because I don’t have an ice cream maker too, so it’s nice to see that you don’t need one for this one!

    A belated Merry Christmas and hope you have a fantastic New Year! x

    • Thanks Mel, don’t let the lack of an ice cream maker stop you – I’ve never owned one and have had (varying degrees of) success with frozen desserts, though now that I’ve done it lots of times my success rate is increasing rapidly :)

  8. Oh my goodness…I’m not a fan of mint but this sounds absolutely wonderful. Would have been perfect for when I was in Aus!

    Gorgeous pics too.

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