Food52 Best Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Winner
Food52 Editors' Comments:
WHO: EmilyC is an environmental scientist and a killer home cook.
WHAT: Roasted fruit amps up cherry sorbet in a big way.
HOW: Make your whole house smell good by roasting cherries with sugar until syrupy. Then blend them with lime juice, churn like ice cream, and freeze until firm.
WHY WE LOVE IT: EmilyC won't let you down after the work of pitting 2 pounds of cherries. Roasting the fruit makes for an deep cherry flavor (and color!). A scoop would be right at home in a glass of bubbly on a hot summer day, too.
If you’re a fan of cherries in frozen form, then go turn on your oven! The extra step of roasting pays huge dividends since it intensifies the flavor and color of the cherries. By all means use the best cherries you can lay your hands on, but I can attest that even imperfect cherries can be churned into a near-perfect sorbet if you follow this method. One of my favorite parts of this recipe is that by roasting your fruit, you can bypass the step of making a simple syrup. Just add the water to the roasting pan after the cherries have slackened and released their juices, and your oven will make a simple syrup for you. Despite its simplicity, sorbet can be tricky to get right. Not all fruit sorbets need a simple syrup, but cherry benefits from the added water to thin out the fruit purée; otherwise you’ll get a thick, jammy texture. Also, don’t be tempted to dial back on the sugar because you’ll risk a harder, icier sorbet. That’s the beauty of the lime juice in this recipe—you can balance the sweetness to your personal taste.
Makes 1 quart
2 pounds fresh sweet cherries (such as Bing), stemmed and pitted
1 cup granulated sugar
Generous pinch of kosher salt
3/4 cups water
1 to 2 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In a 9-x-13-inch roasting pan with sides, mix the pitted cherries with the cup of sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Toss well to evenly coat. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until the fruit has softened and its juices are bubbling and starting to thicken. Add the water, then roast for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the juices start to bubble again. This step essentially creates a simple syrup in the pan. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the cherries and all accumulated juices into the jar of a blender, and blend well. Add lime juice to taste. Keep in mind that the freezer dulls sweet flavors, so aim for a base that tastes slightly too sweet before churning. You should have about 4 cups of purée.
- Strain the purée through a fine-mesh strainer, pushing gently down on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Scrape the underside of your strainer to get all of the purée. Straining is optional, though I find it worthwhile to get a smooth, velvety sorbet.
- Cover and chill the purée until very cold, at least one hour or overnight.
- Pour the chilled base into the ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer directions, or until the sorbet is thick.
- Transfer the sorbet into a freezer-safe container, and press plastic wrap against the top to prevent ice crystals from forming. It should keep well for up to a month.