Before summer nectarines disappear for a year, make this sweet, refreshing sorbet for dessert. Just three ingredients and an ice cream maker. No refined sugar; just a little floral honey to accent the nectarines. Simmer briefly, puree, then chill, churn and enjoy.
Cold Sorbet for Hot Nights
While many places in the country are looking forward to cooler days and the coming fall colors, Southern California is melting down. The hottest weather of the year is upon us. Anything cool and refreshing is not just needed, it’s required. When the thermometer reaches into the triple digits, we need cool everything to survive.
Making Nectarine Sorbet
I’ve made at least four batches of this sorbet in the past two weeks for family and friends. It’s so simple. Just sweet nectarines, a few tablespoons of orange blossom honey and a little water to help the fruit cook down. What I have left out is any dairy, so the pure natural fruit flavor shines through. I also did not use refined white sugar. Many recipes use what is called a simple syrup sweeten sorbets. Simple syrup is commonly made with white sugar and water, cooked down to form a syrup. Instead, I’ve used a little honey as a natural sweetener.
When the fruit is soft from simmering, puree in a blender. Quickly cool the base down in an ice bath, then place in the fridge for awhile to really cool down. It will help the sorbet to churn faster.
After churning, place in the freezer for about an hour to set up. I like my sorbet a little soft versus frozen solid. Anyway you make it, it is refreshingly cool on a hot, end of summer night. If you make it a day ahead, allow the sorbet to sit out for a few minutes to soften up, then scoop. For garnish add chopped or sliced fresh nectarine as an option. Fresh raspberries would be nice too.
I use a “Y” style vegetable peeler to peel nectarines, many other fruits and all vegetables. They are about $4 in a cooking store or online. No dipping nectarines into boiling water then shocking in a ice bath. You don’t lose any of the wonderful juices. And it is so quick and easy. It works most easily with nectarines that are not overly ripe.
How to Set Up and Ice Bath
After you simmer then puree your nectarines and honey, the base will still be hot. To set up an ice bath to quickly cool the base before churning, fill a sink half way with water and add lots of ice. Nestle bowl of hot fruit base (or whatever else you need to cool) into the ice water bath. Stir frequently to release the heat. Use a stainless steel bowl for fastest cooling. Forget plastic bowls. They insulate heat, not dissipate. When cool, place the nectarine sorbet base into the refrigerator to cool completely before churning in an ice cream maker. To make sorbet, follow the ice cream makers instructions.
What Else to Do With Nectarines
Nectarines make a cool, sweet sorbet for the end of summer. Simmer the fruit with honey until soft, cool and churn. Enjoy with chopped fresh nectarines for garnish. The Grand Marnier is optional, but just 1 tablespoon adds a lift to the flavor and compliments the nectarines.
- 3 pounds (1 1/2 kilos) nectarines
- 4 tablespoons orange blossom honey (or other mild type)
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)
- 1-2 extra nectarines or fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)
- Special Equipment – Ice cream maker
- Peel nectarines. This is most easily done with a Y-style vegetable peeler. Don’t worry about getting every tiny bit of skin off. After peeling, cut all of the flesh off from around the pit. Chop flesh and add to a saucepan. Add honey and water. Cook nectarines over medium-low heat with a lid on until very soft, about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove nectarines from the heat, add liqueur if using (optional), and puree the fruit in a Vitamix or blender until very smooth. Pour into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Place in an ice bath to chill quickly. Stir occasionally to help the base cool faster. Stirring helps the heat release. When cold, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 1 hours until totally cold. This will help the sorbet churn faster.
- When totally chilled, pour nectarine base into an ice cream and churn according to manufacturer directions. After churning, allow the sorbet to set up in the freezer for about an hour after before serving. if it is in the freezer for a few hours or even overnight (made ahead), allow sorbet to sit out until soft and creamy enough to scoop.