Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lemon Basil and Buttermilk Sorbet with Warm Blueberry Sauce

Article first published as Basil, Lemon and Buttermilk Sorbet with Blueberry Sauce on Blogcritics.

I have an embarrassment of riches in my herb garden this year! The early warming trends and abundant rain have caused my mint, basil, verbena and other herbs to take the pace over so I’m always on the lookout for new and creative uses of these summertime green treats.  I love basil and mint in sweet dishes, as well as in savory preparations and thought I’d try a sorbet with prominent basil flavors as a sophisticated summer dessert.  I paired the basil with tangy buttermilk and some lemon for a delicious sorbet and thought about topping it with some warm sauce made from fresh blueberries.  So delicious and colorful!  It really is a gorgeous dessert that wakes up all the senses, and is also a digestive aid, thanks to the basil and berries.  It’s a surprisingly healthy treat too with some calcium, loads of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber…what more could you ask for in a simple summer dessert?  Serve this as is, or aside some yummy cookies or cake as a special treat for guests.  Enjoy!

2/3 cup water
1 1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup basil, cut into ribbons
4 cups buttermilk
Juice and zest of 2 lemons

Mix the water, 1 cup of the sugar and the basil in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until reduced and syrup-like.  Cool to room temperature and then place in a food processer or blender and process for about one minute to ensure that the basil is finely chopped.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour and for up to 2 days.  Once chilled, mix the basil syrup with the buttermilk, remaining sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a blender. Put the mixture in the blender back in the refrigerator to chill for at least 10 minutes and up to several hours.  Place in an ice cream freezer and churn for 20-25 minutes until it has reached desired consistency.  Freeze immediately if not serving at once.  Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Sauce

2 cups blueberries
juice and zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup water
splash of red wine

While the sorbet is either in the ice cream freezer or chilling in the freezer, zest the lemon and set aside.  Place all other ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to a boil.    Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until berries have popped and sauce is thickened.  Remove from heat and add lemon zest.  Set aside to cool slightly. Puree in a blender if desired, or leave it with the berries in tact if preferred.

Serve the sorbet with some of the warm sauce.  This is a great dessert with a bit of angel food cake, shortbread cookies or blackberry dessert wine.  You could change out the lemon for lime and play around with blackberries or raspberries in the sauce instead of the blueberries.   If you really want a foodie take on this, sprinkle the dish with just a touch of artisan salt (like fleur du sel or Himalayan pink salt) before serving.  It really does bring out the basil and the berries, and is a nice counterpoint to the sweetness. Have fun and use what is in season and/or plentiful in your backyard garden!

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