Photo by ArtsySF and used with her permission.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Basil Blueberry Anise Cinnamon Sorbet

So this one is a real mouthful to say. After the Blueberry Crema Ice Cream recipe I had leftover blueberries. I have wanted to do a sorbet for a while. My daughter is allergic to soy, milk, and eggs. She cannot enjoy almost everything I make for this blog. This is not as tragic as it sounds because she is not quite 17 months old. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to make something she can eat. I wasn’t sure that this flavor combination would be pleasing to her because it is very complex, but she loved it.

This was a fascinating recipe to develop. As I layered in the flavors the profile changed drastically. I made a 1:1 simple syrup and it was too sweet and needed lemon juice to even it out. 1 tablespoon of basil was not enough, but two made it the dominant flavor. 3 teaspoons of Sambuca added almost no perceptible licorice flavor. Adding the cinnamon made it taste too acidic. A fourth teaspoon of Sambuca brought everything into balance. After chilling and freezing, the basil flavor was still dominant and the anise flavor showed up nicely. If I didn’t tell my wife that there was cinnamon in it she never would have noticed. Once I told her, she could taste it. I like when this happens. The cinnamon melds perfectly into the background. Having tasted both with and without the cinnamon I can tell you that it would be missed if it were omitted.

How would I serve this? Perhaps as a standalone dessert after an Asian meal or as a foil to a richly flavored lemon ice cream. There is potential for sandwiches using ginger snaps for the cookies. I don’t think it would work as a palate cleanser, but it might work as part of a cocktail with lemon infused vodka.

Basil Blueberry Anise Cinnamon Sorbet:

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rough chopped Thai basil
2 star anise
Scant ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
4 teaspoons Sambuca
12 ounces blueberries

Bring the water, sugar, basil, star anise, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and steep for 10 minutes.

Add the blueberries, and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the blueberries to give off their juice and really get soft.

Remove saucepan from the heat and pick out the star anise. Stir in the lemon juice and Sambuca. Puree the fruit. This is the time to adjust the taste if you desire. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Let cool to room temperature the refrigerate over night. Freeze.

1 comment:

Hillary said...

What an intricate flavor combination! Sounds wonderful!