It is May in Boston. The sun is shining…the tulips have bloomed in the Public Gardens…the Charles River is dotted with sailboats and………it is STILL COLD!!!!! Hence, I am still trying to will the warm weather to grace us with its presence by creating light, summery desserts (“If you build it, he will come“). And what says summer and warm weather more than watermelon?
Several years ago I invented (or so I thought) a watermelon mojito made of pureed watermelon, mint simple syrup, lime juice, rum and club soda. Fast forward a year or two and I open a Barefoot Contessa cookbook only to find almost the same exact recipe! Obviously, she stole it from me. But all kidding and patent rights aside, it is a delicious and refreshing summer drink…so I decided to turn it into a sorbet…minus the alcohol (although now I’m having second thoughts about that, read on for further details about how alcohol contributes to the texture of sorbet and ice cream).
So I set out today to make a watermelon mint sorbet…and I think I ended up with more of a granita. A granita is more of a shaved ice texture and is made without an ice cream machine while a sorbet is generally smoother and denser. Although I was a bit disappointed with the final product due to the texture, it did still have a great flavor…and I happily ate it for dessert tonight while watching Game of Thrones (Daenerys is so badass!). However, I did decide to do some research into how to improve the texture of the sorbet. I found some advice on using gelatin or xantham gum, etc but decided to avoid going that route. Other people advised increasing the sugar content- this website instructs you to place a whole egg (unbroken) into your sorbet mixture and add sugar (in the form of simple syrup) to the mixture until the egg floats. And finally, you should add alcohol to lower the freezing point and prevent the sorbet from becoming too solid and “granita-like” as I experienced. I’ll have to re-experiment later this summer and report back. Click below for the recipe.