Last week we mentioned in passing strawberry coulis. Making a sorbet, or its crunchier cousin a granita, are just variations on the theme though the technique is slightly different. I'll repeat last week's disclaimer that the requisite degree of sweetness will depend on your berries and your personal taste. In true cheffy style I should pound the table and insist that your ingredients are in tip top condition; however, I made this on Monday using berries left over from the previous day's street party. Not sure I would have fancied eating them as they were, but they made a pretty decent sorbet.
The difference between the two is that while a sorbet is a smooth water ice, a granita has quite pronounced ice crystals. You can make a sorbet without an ice cream maker, but it's fiddly. A granita isn't difficult, but it does need regular attention. So you can anticipate where I'm heading? I spy a double tub ice cream maker in Lakeland for under 40 quid. My own, with its built in chiller unit, would be about £300 now. It cost me £200 in Nisbet's sale a few years ago.
The Basic Mix
500g strawberries, leaves and stalks removed, roughly cut up; 100g caster sugar; juice of 1 lemon; 250ml water.
Start by making a sugar syrup. Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Then increase the heat, stir in the lemon juice and add the strawberries. Cook for just a couple of minutes and remove from the heat. Allow to chill a little then blitz with a hand blender. Push the mixture through a sieve and allow to cool, then refrigerate.
Put the mixture in your ice cream maker and churn till set. Alternatively put in a bowl in the freezer and blitz in a blender every 2 - 3 hours until the desired consistency is reached.
Pour the mixture into a shallow tray and place in the freezer. When the ice crystals start to form (this may take a surprisingly long time, but all freezers are different), take a fork and scrape them all. Repeat every hour until you have the mixture like a slightly more solid slush puppy. The last time I did this, albeit in our less efficient upstairs fridge, it took about 12 hours.