Today I taught a class called Simple Summer Dinner Parties. I had a fantastic group and they cooked an obscene amount of delicious food. I think one of the group favorites was the watermelon sorbet. The day was warm, the kitchen was hot and the sorbet was a welcome cool finish to dishes such as coffee glazed baby back ribs, grilled vegetable panzanella, and guacamole with roasted tomatillos and poblanos. Sorbet is also great because it has no fat and no dairy-with really fresh fruit and simple syrup, you’ve got all you need.
To make your own watermelon sorbet, there are a few kitchen items that come in handy-a food processor, a fine mesh strainer, and an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can turn the recipe into a granita (see instructions below).
Here’s to many sweet summer fruit sorbets!!
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
8 cups cubed (1 inch) watermelon, seeds and rind discarded
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely (this is your simple syrup-if you think you’ll make a lot of sorbet this summer, make up a big batch to keep in the fridge). Meanwhile, puree the watermelon in a food processor until smooth. If desired, strain puree through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer the puree to a bowl and add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. When the sugar syrup is cool, add it to the mixture and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Note: if you don’t have an ice cream maker and want to try the recipe, pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan and put it in the freezer. After it begins to freeze, an hour or two, use a large fork to break it up into smaller chunks. Do this 2-3 more times, every hour or two, and then freeze overnight. Before serving the next day, use the fork to scrape the mixture into fine crystals and serve or, put it in a food processor and pulse just to break it up. The granita will be very similar in flavor to the sorbet but, because the ice cream maker chruns air into the mixture, it won’t be quite as light.