Sunday, May 15, 2011

Don't Stop There!

'Bagging up' is not the only preparation we can do. We can also make up a few bottles of 'stock sugar syrup' which keeps virtually for ever, and is ready for use to add to fruit salads, and for making Turkish oranges, candied peel, and sorbets etc.

Some chefs make stock syrup by using equal measures of sugar and water (or 1 lb sugar to 1 pint water), and as this is fairly concentrated, to make a sorbet this syrup needs diluting down by adding a 'flavoured' liquid, normally half a pint of pureed fruit stirred into one pint of sugar syrup. This can then either be frozen in an ice-cream machine, or poured into a container, frozen for about 3 hours, brought out and whisked, frozen for a further hour, whisked again, then repeated once or twice more then freeze until firm.
To serve, take container into the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow it to soften slightly before scooping out.

Stock Sugar Syrup:
One measure of water (eg. 1 pint)
Same measure of granulated sugar
Put the sugar in a pan with the water and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved (DO NOT STIR - just swirl the pan to help sugar dissolve or crystals will reform once the syrup is bottled). Bring to the boil and simmer for 4 minutes, then cool slightly and pour into hot, sterilised bottles and seal with clean screwcap lids. Keeps for ages in a cool larder.

The next recipe is for Lemon Sorbet, and as the sorbet is a type of frozen 'crystal', when making this sorbet from scratch it doesn't matter if the sugar is stirred to help it dissolve. You will note that the syrup does not have half a pint of lemon juice added (this would make it far too strongly flavoured), use the recipe as is and just make up the shortfall adding extra water with lemon juice if using stock sugar syrup.
Lemon Sorbet:
2 oz (50g) piece of fresh root ginger, grated
8 oz (225g) caster or granulated sugar
1 pint (600ml) water
zest and juice of 3 lemons
Dissolve the sugar in the water, bring to the simmer, then removed from heat and stir in the ginger, and lemon zest and juice. Leave to get quite cold, the pour through a sieve into a shallow freezer container and freeze for 2 - 3 hours (or until the sides are frozen and the centre still slushy) then scrape into a bowl and whisk. Return to the container and freezer and repeat this every hour for three times, finally putting it into the freezer (lid on) and leave there until needed. This will need thawing for half an hour in the fridge to allow to soften before serving. Replace surplus back in freezer if not all used.

The Italians have a similar dessert called a 'granita'. This is flavoured sugar syrup diluted with either fruit puree, or even strong black coffee. Frozen in a shallow container, forked occasionally to form into crystals (coarser than sorbet as the mixture is not whisked) and served as a refreshing dessert on a hot day.
Believe that some chefs serve a 'veggie' sorbet (frozen tomato juice - without the sugar - as a 'granita' for example) between courses as a 'refresher'.