Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lemon Champagne Sorbet

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I picked a large bag of lemons off my aunt's dwarf lemon tree. They are truly amazing -- sweet, juicy, and fragrant. I feel obligated to make something awesome from those lemons. I thought about making lemon curd. I may still do that, but I certainly don't want to end up as the person eating all them butter and eggs. I made some orange lemon marmalade last year. It was very good, but I want to do something else -- something light, refreshing and guilt-free. Lemon sorbet seems like a good idea, but why not jazz it up with that bottle of bubbly in the fridge?

The result certainly lives up to the premise. Very rarely does a whimsical idea in my head turn out so well in reality. Most of my truly oddball ideas end up in the garbage bin (ahem, lavender earl grey cupcakes, anyone?) To make this festive and refreshing little dessert, you need:
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • juice from 5 to 6 small or medium lemons
  • zest from 5 to 6 small or medium lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups of champagne or sparkling wine
Start by boiling water and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and add juice and zest. Make sure you taste the mixture to see how tart it is. I happen to have some really sweet lemons. If you have lemons that are more sour, feel free to cut back on the lemon juice. Unless you like it tart, in which case, add as much lemon juice as you want. Chill mixture in the refrigerator. After the mixture is chilled, add champagne or sparkling wine. I wouldn't use something super fancy in this, but make sure you like the taste.

At this point, you can use an ice cream machine to finish the process. Or, you can pour the mixture into a large pan and move the pan into the freezer. Check on it about every 30 minutes to an hour. Scrap with fork to make little ice crystals. Yes, I know that's more like granita. No matter what you call it, it will be delicious.

Note that because the mixture has alcohol in it, it will take a little bit longer to set up in the freezer. Also, it will set up soft, not frozen solid. If you like a firmer texture, replace half a cup of champagne with water.

The sorbet is a gorgeous canary yellow. It's sweet and fragrant with a hint of effervescence. Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

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