|Photo by Angela Schmeidell Randall via Flickr|
Cranberry sorbet has become a Thanksgiving tradition for us. A nice, light, calming palette cleanser is perfect following the type of meal that makes you wish it were socially acceptable to wear maternity pants when not pregnant. The recipe is straight forward enough and you can make it up to a week in advance so it doesn’t have to be part of the marathon Thanksgiving prep kitchen session and thus contribute to cooking fatigue. This is key for morale because on nights like tonight I am so sick of all things turkey related that if the bird weren’t already dead I would pummel it to death myself.
Here’s what you need to make about 3 cups of cranberry sorbet:
2 cups thawed or fresh cranberries
2.5 cups water, divided
1.25 cups sugar, divided
Just under half a cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from about 4 small lemons)
Just under a quarter cup fresh squeezed Satsuma or orange juice (about 1 Satsuma)
An ice cream maker or a willingness to put up with unusually textured sorbet
(recipe is a spin on this one originally found in an old school issue of “Gourmet”)
1. Boil the cranberries, one cup of water, and a quarter cup of sugar in a small pot until the cranberries burst. “Burst” isn’t nearly as explosive or dramatic as it sounds. The cranberries just end up looking deflated and oozing out their innards so the mixture looks really red and stainy. This takes about 15 minutes.
2. Puree cranberry mixture with an immersion blender and force it through a mesh sieve into a glass or metal bowl. Only the really fibrous bits get left behind in the sieve. If you skip the straining step the sorbet ends up texturally resembling a sweater. A tasty sweater. But a sweater.
3. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and chill it in the fridge until cool. This takes about 2.5 hours.
4. While the cranberry mixture is chilling, wipe out the pot you used for the cranberries (or don’t if generating dishes is your thing). Bring the remaining 1.5 cups water and 1 cup sugar to a boil stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
5. Squeeze the lemon and Satsuma juice. Unless you have a paper cut. Then make someone else do it.
6. Now you’ve got a minimum of two hours until you have to do anything else sorbet related. So go nuts. The world is your oyster. Wash up, take a nap, make pastry crust, sing, dance, tell jokes, post a martyr-like Facebook status update about how you’re spending all afternoon making sorbet from scratch since in your opinion caring for the health of your family by avoiding processed food is important BECAUSE WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?! Not that you’re judging. Or understand why people roll their eyes and de-friend you after they read your status updates.
7. Once the cranberry mixture has completely cooled pour it, along with the lemon and Satsuma juice and sugar syrup, into your ice cream maker. Let the ice cream maker do its thing then decant the sorbet into an air tight container and freeze for at least a couple of hours or up to one week. Honestly, it’s still pretty good after the week is up. It just starts to do that weird over-freezing thing that most half-empty ice cream containers have going on after a while.
When you’re done with Thanksgiving dinner itself but are too full to gorge yourself on pie you can lean back and enjoy your homemade sorbet before dessert. Because you definitely aren’t sneaking an extra dessert into an already dessert heavy day. No way. Cranberry sorbet is a palette cleanser.