Sunday, May 6, 2007

Strawberry Basil Deliciousness

It is getting warm here in sunny southern California -- I've been itching to use our ice cream maker for a few weeks. Luckily, there was a Farmer's Market outside my building last Friday and I picked up some juicy strawberries on my way home. They languished in my refrigerator until they were getting a little soft and I was obligated to use them in something. Sorbet seemed the obvious choice, though pie was a contender for a few minutes. I didn't want to make boring, simple strawberry sorbet though. I wanted something a little exotic.

My thoughts went to other fruits, but they didn't sound fun enough. Then I remembered some flavor combos that I had been intrigued by -- including one with strawberries and and basil.

Now, let me admit something -- I am obsessed with Thai purple basil, and I use it as often as I can. I toss it into salads, stir it into pastas, and drop it into soups. It is a little more fragrant and less licorice-y than green basil. I decided that strawberry *basil* sorbet sounded just unique enough, and I made the following recipe. We devoured it in days. It was divine -- try it and see. Hello, summer. :)

Strawberry Thai Basil Sorbet


-- 5 cups sliced, cleaned, ripe strawberries
--3/4 cup sugar
--3/4 cup water
--1 large bunch Thai purple basil, leaves chiffonaded
--1 ounce vodka
--juice of one lemon


1) Puree the strawberries in a food processor. Put pureed strawberries in the refrigerator for at least one hour

2) Simmer the sugar, water, and basil in a small sauce pan over low heat until the sugar is totally dissolved (5 -6 minutes)

3) Take syrup off the heat and place in refrigerator until cold.

4) Strain the basil leaves out of the syrup if so desired.

5) Stir the syrup, lemon juice, and vodka into the pureed strawberries

6) Freeze according to the ice cream maker's instructions.

To serve:

Scoop into bowls, and garnish with more Thai basil or pretty edible flowers (like we did).


The vodka helps the sorbet stay soft -- actually, any liquor with a compatible flavor would also work. Grand Marnier comes to mind. Without the alcohol (which doesn't freeze) the sorbet gets too hard and icy. However, you don't have to add the alcohol if you don't want to, just be sure to let it soften before you serve.

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