I’m a little ahead of the game with a strawberry treat, so tuck this away for a couple of weeks if you’re waiting for the local crop. Or just make the sorbet now because rhubarb is up like crazy, the sun is shining, and any time is the right time for sorbet.
I made this particular batch as a light, spring-y dessert after a recent family celebration featuring rich, crusty lamb chops. I think it’s nice to end a substantial meal with something refreshing, although I confess I added a scoop of chocolate ice cream to my dad’s bowl because 1) he loves ice cream, and 2) chocolate + strawberries = NICE.
Roasting the strawberries and rhubarb concentrates their flavor, while a pinch of cardamom adds a hint of spicy warmth (although if you don’t like cardamom—it tends to fall into the love/hate camp—just skip it or substitute cinnamon). If you’re feeling adventurous, play around with fresh herbs (basil could be delicious), balsamic vinegar, a splash of booze, or even black pepper. Sorbet is pretty forgiving so make it your own. When I’m in the mood for a sundae (warm-cold-gooey) sort of experience, I’ll warm some top-notch strawberry jam – or the strawberry-rhubarb sauce I make several times over the summer – and spoon it over the top. So good.
Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet
Note: The trick for luscious sorbet is to let it soften before serving. If you taste it straight from the ice cream maker, you’ll understand the perfect texture. If you freeze it solid, let it soften at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before scooping and serving. Start the recipe the night before you plan to serve it by freezing the bowl of your ice cream maker for a minimum of 12 hours.
2 pounds ripe strawberries, hulled, halved
1/2 pound rhubarb, diced
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
maple syrup (or honey) to taste
1 tablespoon of your favorite booze
1 tablespoon minced basil or other fresh herbs
few grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread strawberries and rhubarb on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes (fruit will be softened and juicy). Transfer fruit to the bowl of a blender, add cardamom, and puree. Taste and add maple syrup, a few tablespoons at a time, to achieve desired sweetness (I like it tart).
Place fruit – still in the blender – in the freezer for 30 minutes or until very cold. (Can be made one day ahead and refrigerated instead.) Process in ice cream maker according to package directions. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and freeze. If frozen solid, allow to soften at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before servin