The Big Chill...

It's no secret that I am no fan of hot weather. My gas bill in the winter is always lower than my electric bill in the summer because I prefer to keep my home approximately the same temperature year-round, and that temperature is on the chilly side. I figure it all evens out eventually.

With the forecast calling for another scorching, humid weekend here in Chicago the next couple days, I decided to do my part to beat the heat -- I would make another icy cold batch of sorbet. Sure, I still have some of that blackberry-lime sorbet in the freezer from last week, but for me, that was a bit of a failed experiment. Justin may have loved the tart, citrus-dominated flavors of that particular frozen treat, but I was still in the market for something that would appeal to my palate.

When I got an email from Mom announcing a 99-cent sale on apricots at the market near her house, I knew I had found my answer. She had passed along the information because Justin's grandma likes to make a wide array of apricot desserts, from apricot dimple cake, to whole apricot-filled dumplings, to homemade apricot preserves to use in other desserts, such as Sachertorte. Every summer, she asks her family to look for them on sale for her, so she can stock up for the rest of the year, and last year, we struggled to find them at an acceptable price. In fact, I'd been monitoring their price so far this year, and hadn't spotted anything under $2.99 per pound.

Aside from nagging Justin to pick up some fruit for his grandma, this year I actually wanted some apricots for myself. Given Justin's deeply-rooted love for apricots, I knew that I wanted to give apricot sorbet a try, since being made into sorbet improves pretty much any fruit. (Even lime was better as a sorbet, just not enough so that I wanted to eat it; some aversions die hard.) So I had Mom pick some up for me, and I used them today to whip up David Lebovitz's simple recipe from The Perfect Scoop.

Though I generally avoid cooked fruit sorbets in favor of quickly whirring everything together in a blender and churning it, this apricot sorbet turned out quite well. I might have preferred just a touch more sugar, as the sweet-tart nature of apricots has never really appealed to me, but the texture of the finished product was smooth and almost creamy.

More importantly, my resident apricot enthusiast enjoyed it. The fruit flavor was pronounced, and received his stamp of approval. I think peach sorbet will always be my favorite, but I'll hang on to this apricot recipe in case I find a good deal on apricots in the future and want to do something nice for my man. 

Apricot Sorbet
adapted from David Lebovitz

2 lbs. squishy-ripe fresh apricots (about 10-15)
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
3 drops vanilla extract

Split the apricots in half, remove the pits, and cut each half into thirds. Combine the apricot wedges and water in a medium nonreactive saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Once cool, puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste a spoonful and if there are any small fibers, press the puree through a mesh strainer. Stir in the almond or vanilla extract. Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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