The weather is showing no sign of breaking soon. That's OK-I have a freezer filled with sorbet, gelato, and ice cream. I also have a new fridge (that I hate as the crisper bins don't have any space, and the shelves are spaced oddly-but that's another post) which has a separate temperature control for the freezer-a great improvement over the last model. I cranked it up, and now I have five pints of glorious frozen treats, all churned out in an 8x8 glass pan. Seriously, I no longer use an ice cream maker as I prefer the results I get from stirring in the pan with a fork.
The method I use for fruit-based sorbets and ice cream is a bit more time consuming than whirring it all in a blender or food processor-but I'm a devoted fan of the Foley Food Mill, and whether I'm making mashed potatoes, pureeing soup, or mashing cooked fruit for sorbet-it never fails me. Few appliances are as reliable as old Foley. You can use a blender of course, but then you really should take the extra step of straining through a sieve to get out the tough skin.
Peach Puree for sorbet, ice cream, or gelato:
5 large, ripe, peaches-pitted, peels left on
Juice of 1 lemon (no need to strain out pips
A small (1/4 cup at most) splash of water if peaches are dry
In a large pot, place peaches, lemon juice, and water (if needed). Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook gently until fruit is soft-about 10 minutes. Run through a food mill until all that is left are pips and peel.
Measure your fruit puree. For each cup, add 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Return to pan over medium heat and whisk in sugar just until it dissolves. Remove from heat and cool completely before using.
At this point, if you're making sorbet, whisk in a tablespoon or so of brandy (or bourbon if you prefer. You can now proceed with freezing. The alcohol will help keep it slushy, but you can omit it as there's enough sugar to keep it from freezing too hard. Give it a stir once every 30 minutes with a fork (chopping up the hard bits around the sides) until firm. Chill several hours to further firm.
If you are making something else, combine it with the pulp at this point. I like to make both ice cream and sorbet, so I divide the pulp for two batches of treats. Strangely, just stirring in an equal amount of heavy cream (skipping the eggs, milk, and custard base of ice cream) works really well with richer fruit puree. You won't need additional sugar either, though I would omit the alcohol and use a splash of vanilla extract instead-but that's just me. Some caramel sauce swirled in at the end of the freezing time is excellent as well.
You can apply this same method to cherries, but I'd substitute Kirsch for the sorbet, and vanilla extract for the ice cream.
For Grapefruit Sorbet:
4 large grapefruit (I had pink, not overly sweet. You may wish to decrease the sugar for Ruby Red variety, or increase it for white).
Juice the grapefruit. Measure. For each cup of fruit you will need 1 cup water, and 1 cup granulated sugar. Combine the water and sugar in a pan and whisk over heat just until dissolved. Cool. Whisk into juice. Freeze. You can of course add alcohol here (anything anisette would be lovely) or you can use fennel seeds, or star anise in the simple syrup, which you will strain before combining. A slice of fresh ginger is nice as well. If you have any tarragon growing in the garden, that can be nice I'm told. I left mine plain and omitted the alcohol, and it was just delicious-like frozen grapefruit juice.
Double Chocolate Ice Cream That Is So Delicious It Will Make Your Head Spin:
This is the best thing I make according to my family. Who am I to argue?
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (I've been using 2%-I don't think I can tell the difference)
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup very dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Special dark baking cocoa which is really excellent for the price (no, I'm not getting paid to say that)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces either white chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (The cocoa is already so strong and bitter, you need a sweeter chocolate as a balance)
Heat the cream and milk until steaming. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined. Add the milk/cream, slowly to eggs whisking as you go. Return the mixture to the pan and cook to 170 degrees F. whisking to ensure it does not cook to bottom of pan. Strain into a bowl to catch any remaining egg whites. Whisk in vanilla and cocoa powder. Chill in an ice bath until cold enough to begin freezing. In the last ten minutes of freezing/stirring, mix in the chopped chocolate. Chill several hours to firm up.