Dec 28, 2007

Pickled Ginger Sorbet

This is a cure for what ails you. Sore throat? Tummyache? This will make you feel better.

I learned this recipe from Terry Conlan, the chef at Lake Austin Spa in an Asian grilling class at Central Market, our local gourmet market. Every recipe he presented was so full of flavor and so satisfying that it hardly seemed like airy spa food. His food would be reason enough to visit the spa.

This sorbet has bold ginger flavor boosted by lemon juice and rounded out with honey. The recipe only makes a little over a pint, but this is not something you'll pig out on like your favorite ice cream. A small scoop with a cookie would make a refreshing, light dessert after an Asian meal. Or you could serve it as Terry did, alongside some spicy tuna. Perfect summer food. Very refreshing. But I'm providing it here, in the dead of winter, because it's the perfect thing to soothe my sore throat. Ahhh...

Terry recommended a pink-colored pickled ginger for this recipe because of it's sweetness. But the one at my market contained some additives that didn't look too friendly. So I've adapted it using a natural, faintly yellow-colored pickled ginger. But I loved the soft, fluffy pale pink color of his so I added one drop of red food coloring to give it that pink glow. No matter what color it is, you'll be refreshed.

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup pickled ginger with syrup
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 drop red food coloring

Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Stir in the honey.

In a blender or food processor (I used an immersion blender), pureƩ the ginger, a bit of the ginger syrup and the lemon juice. Add the drop (just one!) of red food coloring, if you like. Whiz again to completely distribute. Stir into the sugar syrup.

Let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can speed this along by putting it in a container, put the container in an ice bath in a large bowl, or even in the pan you just melted the sugar in. Let sit in the ice bath until it gets cool.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can pop it in the freezer until frozen. Take it out to stir it and fluff it up occasionally while it's freezing. When you're ready to serve, let it thaw slightly and then pulse in a food processor.

To use an ice cream maker, put the cooled mixture in the freezer for an hour to chill it. Then process in an ice cream maker according to its instructions. Mine took about 20-25 minutes to get it to a soft serve consistency. Then store it in the freezer until ready to serve.

Adapted from a recipe by Terry Conlan of Lake Austin Spa.

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