Martha Stewart Living (July 2013)
What comes to mind when you hear "sherbet"?
For us, it instantly whooshes us straight back to childhood: Cool, creamy scoops of peach, raspberry, lime or -- best of all -- rainbow. And all of it in dreamy, sepia pastels -- like ice cream, only Instagrammed.
So we felt a wave of nostalgia when we saw a feature on sherbets in the July issue of Martha Stewart Living. It's actually a nice, lengthy feature that also includes recipes for ice creams and sorbets. But it was the sherbets that got us. Sour-Cherry and Lemon-Verbena. Canteloupe, Tarragon and Vodka. Avocado Cilantro.
Granted, those are some pretty grown-up riffs on a childhood favorite. So maybe it was our nostalgia that drew us to the least grown-up one in the bunch, this Blueberry Buttermilk Sherbet.
Other than nostalgia, it was the "seasonality" of this sherbet that sold us. We're swimming in blueberries this time of year -- we just can't stop buying them every chance we get -- and we can't get enough.
If you're curious about the difference between sherbet, ice cream and sorbet, here's the deal. Sorbet contains no milkfat. Sherbet contains a little bit of milkfat, between 1 and 2 percent. Ice cream contains even more: 10 percent milkfat or higher. So sherbet is this lovely in-between dessert: Creamier than sorbet but lighter than ice cream, and usually more flavorful. (By the way, these are American definitions. In other countries, apparently, "sherbet" is a fizzy powder that's mixed with water to make a fruity drink.)
The prep for this is incredibly simple -- simpler even than most ice cream recipes, since you don't even have to heat your ingredients to combine them. You just puree the berries and sugar, strain, add everything else and prepare in an ice cream maker. Voila: Sherbet.
How did it turn out? Delicious. It's wonderful! The blueberry flavor is so, so nice.
We do have one complaint, something we'd definitely tweak if we made this again. It's too sweet! The sugar almost completely overwhelmed the buttermilk, and we really wanted to bring out that tangy buttermilk flavor. We would cut the sugar by 1/4 cup, or maybe even 1/2 cup. (Perhaps our height-of-the-season blueberries were sweeter than the recipe anticipated...)
Still, this was a lovely blueberry sherbet that -- if only for a few minutes, sitting on our stoop at twilight, scooping up the deliciousness and licking the spoons -- made us feel like little kids again.
Prep: 10 mins | Total time: 2 1/1 hours
Makes about 1 1/2 pints
1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries (about 3 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Puree blueberries and sugar in a blender until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve set over a bowl; discard solids. Stir in buttermilk, lemon zest, and vanilla.
Chill a loaf pan in freezer at least 10 minutes. Freeze and churn blueberry mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions, then transfer to pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hardened, at least 2 hours; sherbet can be frozen up to 2 weeks ahead.