Where did the last five months go? I can't believe the last time I sat down to write was back in January when I was in Seattle visiting my sister, brother in law and new baby niece! She is now five months old and winter has turned into summer (almost). I feel as if years of events and experiences have been squeezed into these past few months. Distractions have kept me from doing what I like doing the most - cooking. Maybe it was the stress of long days at work, or personal distractions that ended up being just that, nothing but distractions. My desire to cook had all but disappeared for a while. I used to cook to relieve stress. I used to put aside the things that were bothering me that day and concentrate on chopping, stirring, grating, and reducing. For some reason none of those things appealed to me for a while. I'm not completely sure why I took a break from the kitchen, but I'm glad I'm back.
I don't know a lot about tropical fruit and when they are in season as you can find most of them year round in the grocery store. I was craving mango salsa and shrimp for dinner this week (post to come about that soon) so I walked to Whole Foods and found small little yellow mangos that were so ripe to the touch they were impossible to resist. These champagne mangos are much smaller than the ones with the red-ish yellow skin you are used to seeing. After a successful mango and shrimp feast I was hooked on my new super sweet mango discovery and I went back for more this weekend. But what to do with 6 small mangos? Make sorbet!
I've tried to make sorbet before and have been disappointed with the outcome. I've made some pretty tasty icecream but I have yet to make sorbet I am proud of. The black currant sorbet I made was a bit grainy and the prosecco sorbet I made didn't freeze correctly (too much prosecco... can you blame me?) A while back I was "tasting" the lemon sorbet we were serving for one of my events at work and chatting with the pastry chef. I asked her what made this sorbet so much creamier than what I have made in the past. It almost tasted like sherbet. She assured me there was no dairy in it, just egg whites! Raw egg whites in fact. While the fruit puree is freezing in the ice cream maker, you add the whites of one egg. This gives the sorbet a much smoother, creamier consistency. Who knew? Once you get over your fears of salmonella, it makes sense. I decided to put the tip to the test.
If you look online for a sorbet recipe you will find a variation of the same recipe over and over again. Take fruit, puree it, add water, sugar and a little bit of alcohol (so it doesn't freeze into a fruit brick when you put it in the freezer) and that's you're done. I decided to go with a David Lebovitz recipe and put my own twist on it. His recipes are pretty fail proof.
adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz
2 large, ripe mangos (I used 6 champagne mangos) 2/3 cup sugar ( I used a 1/4 cup agave syrup instead) 2/3 cup water 4 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice ( I used a half a lime) 1 tablespoon dark rum, plus more to taste (I used homemade limoncello I made a few years ago) pinch of salt ( I forgot this. Oops! It tasted just fine though)
1 egg white
Take the meat off the mangos by slicing down each side, following the pit with your knife. Squeeze the rest of the meat off the pit with your fingers to make sure not to waste anything. Puree the fruit in a blender along with the water, sugar/agave syrup, lime juice and limoncello. I used limoncello just because I thought the citrus would go well with the mango and I'm not a huge fan of rum. I completely forgot about the pinch of salt. I'm sure it gives that final sweet/salty balance that all cooking/baking needs. I think the sorbet tastes just fine without it but I will include it next time.
Once all your ingredients are pureed together, chill it for about an hour (I chilled mine overnight) and then freeze it in your ice cream maker for about 20 minutes or until it looks like a slushy. Add the whites of one egg at the very end of the freezing process. It gives the puree a silky taste and a pretty sheen. A great addition to the recipe!
Don't you love my old food processor? It makes about as much noise as a margarita machine. My neighbors must have thought I was having one heck of a party yesterday.
After it is finished freezing in the machine, put the mixture in a container and let it finish freezing in the freezer. I had to steal a taste before it was finished.
Delicious, creamy, fruity and cold. I wouldn't call it perfection but it's pretty good! I had some leftover papaya so I tried the same process with it too. Instead of limoncello I used some of my homemade lemon verbena vodka. The papaya had less flavor than the mango did but the lemon verbena vodka added a delicious herbal dimension to the cool treat.
Having been back in the kitchen and experienced what I used to enjoy so much, I know I will be back again soon.