This is another instalment in my Puff the Bakery pastry school chronicles. After taking advantage of a cooler spell and making financiers in the oven earlier in the week, a sudden increase in temperature led me to the course’s frozen dessert section. This section (in the second volume of the course) included parfait and baked Alaska, but I was going to try the easiest option, sorbet.
I like ice cream, but I don’t go mad for it like some people – a tub can sit in my freezer for months before I try a bit. I do prefer something fruity and refreshing on a hot day, then creamy and sweet, and so when out I’ll usually choose an ice lolly or sorbet. I was looking forward to trying my own version!
I decided to go with a light, fruity taste, and picked up some peaches to make a peach, honey, and thyme sorbet – a flavour combination I’d already tried in a lovely galette earlier in the course. Full disclosure, I did intend to make this a few days ago, but I spontaneously climbed a tree instead, so I had prepared the mixture already. I roasted the peaches with a little sugar until they were soft and divinely juicy, and then left them overnight in a sugar syrup, adding thyme, lemon and honey. After tasting a little bit I knew I was on to a winner.
I removed the thyme sprigs and put it in the freezer, intending to finish it later that. As it was, I left it in the freezer for around 4 days and got it out today, and it was perfectly fine. The last step was “churning” the sorbet in the mixer, to get rid of any ice crystals and make it nice and smooth. I was a bit apprehensive of this step as I wasn’t convinced my mixer would be strong enough, but after chopping the frozen block of sorbet up, it whipped it up in no time. I added a little vodka to act as anti-freeze and keep the sorbet nice and smooth in the freezer and patiently waited until the evening before trying some.
My first thought was that it was a too honey-heavy, and I was a bit disappointed that the peach didn’t come through stronger, but actually, after the honey taste mellowed, the peach and thyme came through as star supporting characters. I was so impressed with the complexity of the flavours, it was really something. The texture was also perfect, silky and smooth, and no chunky ice crystals insight.
I was so happy that I can now make my own sorbet, without any ice cream machine or fancy equipment, that I’m planning on making a mango one at the weekend. A few months ago I would have likely just tried making a simple lemon sorbet, but I’m really impressed that my flavour knowledge has developed, and I can start making more complex and interesting combinations. This course has provided me with so much confidence in the kitchen in all sorts of ways, I’m forever grateful for discovering it.