My friend Erin, who is an avid gardener, and I took the kids out strawberry picking a couple of weeks ago. We drove out to Ft. Pierce to the D & D Farm where they have a beautiful farm with lots of produce to pick. Strawberry season in Florida runs from December through May, peaking in March and April. When I first moved to Florida six years ago and found strawberry stands on the side of the road in the middle of January, I thought that had to be some sort of scam. Strawberries in January?. But I didn’t understand the Florida climate then and now it makes complete sense.
So we headed out strawberry picking before the season was over. We also picked really sweet tomatoes and wanted to get peppers and eggplant but it was a scorching hot day and we just did not want to put the kids through it. So we picked the strawberries and the tomatoes, let the kids play in the dirt for a few minutes and ran for shelter. Yes, air conditioning… I do not know how people lived in Florida before air conditioning existed. Call me weak.
When summer approaches there is nothing better than refreshing fruit soups and ice cream and sorbets. You will be seeing a lot of ice cream and sorbet recipes in this blog from now on. The bowl for my ice cream machine lives in the freezer now just in case I need it after a good catch of fruit.
1 kg strawberries
100 grams sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Place all ingredients in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap tightly. Place this bowl over a double boiler. Once the water in the pan starts to boil, turn the heat to low and let the water simmer. Keep the bowl of strawberries over the simmering water. They will start to release their juice and this will be transparent.
After an hour, strain the juice through a sieve and discard the wilted strawberries (you can mash them and eat them with ice cream). Refrigerate the juice collected until ready to assemble the dessert.
Vanilla Bean and Milk Sorbet
500 grams organic whole milk
125 grams sugar
3 vanilla beans, scraped
150 grams heavy cream, soft peaks
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, sugar and vanilla beans to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the vanilla beans infuse in the milk for about 30 minutes. Strain the milk and reserve the vanilla beans for another time. Refrigerate the milk for at least 4 hours.
Churn the sorbet in the ice cream machine. In the meantime, whip the cream to soft peaks. When the milk base is almost done churning and forms ripples, add the whipped cream to the machine. Let the machine mix it all together but don’t mix it too much otherwise your cream might turn to butter. This happens if you have a commercial ice cream machine. I find that with my home-use one, it is hard to over churn it just because my machine is not that fast. But just watch out for that.