Actually, I do in fact have a raspberry beret:
It turns out that berets are the only type of hat that looks good on my head (trust me, I've tried them all), so I have them in a multitude of colors to go with my various winter outerwear options. However, this is not really a post about hats, it's a post about something that rhymes with raspberry beret: raspberry sorbet.
Although you wouldn't know it from the veritable orgy of cookie baking that's been going on in my kitchen lately, for normal people, the warm temperatures of summer demand the production of frozen desserts. I did make those fudgsicles back when my air conditioning was broken, so I've technically gotten on the frozen treat band wagon this season, but I felt like I was cheating a bit for not bringing my ice cream maker out from the deepest depths of the freezer to which it is normally relegated the other nine months out of the year.
As I've written in the past, sorbets were my entree into the world of frozen desserts, since I was afraid of making scrambled eggs if I attempted to make the custard base necessary for most ice cream recipes. I've overcome my fear and gone on to produce some fantastic, creamy concoctions ever since I got my electric ice cream machine in 2009, but the appeal of sorbet lingers for me. For one thing, pureeing some fruit in the blender requires no use of the stove -- a definite plus during the summer. Plus, fruit sorbets are a perfect way to enjoy the unadulterated glory of fresh summer produce, uncluttered by the dulling presence of dairy.
I've kind of been holding out on you these past two years with this recipe. I came up with this raspberry-peach concoction a few years ago without any sort of recipe; in fact, it was the very first sorbet I ever made, and I was damn lucky that it turned out so well. I knew I liked raspberry sorbet and peach sorbet, and since the two flavors are a classic pairing in the form of Peach Melba, I decided to give it a try in sorbet form and I was glad I did. Even though it was utterly delicious -- all smooth, cold, and full of fruity brightness -- I very seldom made it. You see, I prefer to strain all the raspberry seeds from the mixture before churning it because I hate getting them stuck in my teeth. In fact, those infernal little seeds are why I don't eat raw berries as a snack, ever. I like the flavor of berries, but hate their texture.
For the past couple years that I made this sorbet, I was under the impression that to strain the seeds out of a berry puree, you dump the liquid into a sieve and manually force the liquid through the screen using a spatula, just like they do on television. This always took at least an hour, often more, and a great deal of elbow grease. As a result, this recipe was a nightmare to prepare, so I only made it for special occasions. Recently, however, I saw someone on a t.v. cooking show straining something through a sieve and received some of the greatest advice I've gotten from the Food Network in their current era of programming cooking competition shows instead of cooking instruction shows -- you should shake the sieve or tap it with a spoon to get as much of the mixture through as possible before pressing with a spatula. Pressing early on only pushes material into the screen that will clog it up from the beginning; it's better to press at the end only to get the last bit through. I could have smacked myself in the head; it made perfect sense, and as soon as I heard this, I was eager to see if this alternative method worked better than my admittedly disastrous one.
So, I whipped up a new batch using the peaches that I got on sale earlier this week, and some raspberries that I'd bought and frozen when they'd been on sale in the past. With my new straining technique, I was ready to churn the sorbet in under 20 minutes. Genius! Now that it's practically pain-free to make, I figured I owed it to all of you to share my recipe, so that you too can enjoy a bowl of icy, summery perfection. Enjoy!
Raspberry Melba Sorbet
12 oz. raspberries, rinsed and dried
2 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and sliced
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. peach schnapps
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree completely, so that no chunks remain.
2. Pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve over a glass bowl, shaking until the majority of the mixture has passed through, then pressing the remainder through with a spatula to remove all seeds.
3. Chill mixture well, either in the refrigerator overnight, or in the freezer for thirty minutes, stirring every ten minutes to prevent freezing.
4. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's directions.
5. Remove to an airtight container, then store in the freezer until scoopable.