September 24, 2009

Buttermilk Sherbet

Rumor has it that it's fall. The maple trees are turning yellow and the poison oak is bright red, acorns are dropping on our roof with loud bangs, and the light is a beautiful golden color. So why is it in the nineties today? Why am I sweating? Why do I feel like taking off all my clothes? (Don't answer that last question...)

It must be fall in northern California, otherwise known as Indian Summer. And the best way to beat the heat -- besides stripping naked and going for a swim -- is a cold frozen treat, preferably something fruity and not too heavy with a nice balance of sweet and tart. This is where sherbet comes in, in all its creamy fruitiness. Now, I had a long-standing aversion to sherbet based on childhood memories of the Baskin Robbins version: fake fruit flavors and a disappointing lack of richness as compared to ice cream. But it turns out that homemade sherbets are a whole different animal, combining the best of sorbet and ice cream.

I've been playing with ice cream recipes, replacing milk and cream with lighter buttermilk, and I'm loving the way it plays off of fruit and the tangy flavor. So break out your ice cream maker (what? You don't have one? Buy one now, it's the best $40 you'll spend this week and an easy way to make show-stopping desserts. Be forewarned, it will ruin you for store-bought "fro-yo" -- but I promise you won't miss it.)

So whip up some tasty low fat ice cream and stay cool while autumn rages on. And while you're at it, try these free printable ice cream gift tags, courtesy of Eat Drink Chic. Enjoy!

Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet

adapted from David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop." And have you checked out his blog? It's an ice cream fanatic's dream come true.
makes about 1 quart

1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

1) Combine the water, sugar and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand until the syrup reaches room temperature, then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
2) Whisk the buttermilk into the syrup, then whisk in the lemon juice.
3) Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions (or place in a container in your freezer and stir with a fork, breaking up clumps, every 15 minutes.)


Nectarine and Ginger Buttermilk Sherbet
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes about 1 quart

3/4 pound ripe nectarines (I used very sweet white nectarines)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons agave syrup (you can omit and replace with honey or sugar if you don't have this on hand)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1) Quarter nectarines; remove and discard pits, but do not peel. Place in a food processor and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.
2) Add sugar, agave syrup, lemon juice, and ginger. Pulse to combine.
3) Transfer to a medium bowl, add buttermilk and chill the mixture.
4) Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions (or place in a container in your freezer and stir with a fork, breaking up clumps, every 15 minutes.)


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