Monday, September 26, 2016

Passion Fruit Margarita Sorbet

We came home  yesterday with a bag full of passion fruit from our niece's vines, and today I decided to experiment. 

My first thought on tasting passion fruit was that it would make a killer Margarita, but not knowing how long they would last, plus having a nice bag full, and not being the sort who likes to drink more than one Margarita, I decided to make Passion Fruit Margarita Sorbet instead. 

I'd had a nice success with Peach Sorbet this summer (though it did freeze a bit hard in the freezer), so I was ready to experiment some more. Since adding alcohol makes sorbets softer, I decided it might actually be an improvement; I figure that I could always put it in a glass and drink it if it didn't get to dessert consistency.

Step 1:

Scoop the fruit and seeds into the blender until you have 2 cups of fruit.

Step 2:

Blend the fruit and seeds and add honey to taste. Although it will lose some sweetness when frozen, it will also gain some sweetness from the Cointreau, so if it tastes about right, it should work out. I figured that it's better to err on the side of a little tart; I can always serve it with a drizzle of honey or a splash of Cointreau. 

Blend some more.

Step 3:

Add 2 cups of water and blend some more. The alcohol is going to soften it up, so I figured that it needed more liquid to give it a better chance of getting hard enough to scoop out. Plus, passion fruit is a pretty strong flavor and, let's face it: I wanted to end up with more than just a couple of cups of sorbet.

Put the blender jar into the fridge for at least an hour. More is fine.

Step 4:

Meanwhile, pour 3 ounces of Cointreau into a measuring cup.

Step 5:

Pour 6 ounces of tequila into the same measuring cup (9 ounces of alcohol total).

Cover the measuring cup and put it into the refrigerator, too.

Step 6:

The Passion Fruit mixture separates in the refrigerator, so give it another whir in the blender before freezing. Pour it into your ice cream freezer and run it until it is frozen.

Step 7

Add about 2 ounces of the alcohol and let the ice cream freezer run until it is absorbed. (If you have the kind of ice cream freezer that turns the freezer while keeping the dash stationary, you can scrape some of the frozen bits off the wall with a spoon to stir it up faster.) 

Repeat, adding about 2 ounces of alcohol at a time, until you've added all the alcohol. Resist the impulse to add all the alcohol at once. 

Run the freezer until the contents are about the consistency of a thick frozen margarita. 

Pour the sorbet into a container with an air tight lid (my sorbet had a few frozen bits on the bottom which I broke up with a spoon) and freeze until firm enough to scoop out. I tested mine after 24 hours, and it was still a bit soft, but definitely firm enough to hold its shape. I garnished it with a sprig of basil, but mint or starfruit would be equally as pretty. It made a very nice, light dessert!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Time Machine

There is nothing that takes me back to childhood quite as quickly as a jar of mixed beads.  Although my friends love to tease me about my neat little rows of beads on my bead board, and my clear desk, a jar of bead soup takes me back to being nine years old, sitting at the dining room table at our house in Granada Hills, looking for treasures in a big box of mixed beads

That big box of beads came from Grandma Newcomer, and it had a little bit of everything in it.  It's long gone now; many, many projects were made from its contents and I have no idea where it ended up. It was a gift for all of us, and we learned how to share (sort of) negotiate (mostly) and fight very, very quietly because of it. It was not unusual to find us sitting around the table on a Saturday afternoon, pawing through it, picking out special beads, and looking for more of our favorites.

Sometimes there were more, and sometimes there weren't. Imagine the horror of finding that special bead, and then noticing that its mate is sitting on the table in front of your sister. Was it special to her? Did she know that she had a treasure, your treasure? Would she change her mind and put it back if you stayed quiet; or did she really and truly love it as much as you did, and was she, even now, looking for more? Would she find another one before you did? If she did, would she give it up? Could you ask for it, very casually, and get it for a small price; or would she sense your desperation and demand blood?

Those are surprisingly good memories.

But this jar is all mine. It was a gift from my friend, Marcia DeCoster. It was a joke gift, but I love it. Whenever I want to, I can run my fingers through these beads and find treasures. It's childhood in a jar for me, but without the fear of loss. The mate to a special bead may be in there, or it may not. The hunt is on, and my childhood just got rosier.