SUMMER PICKS: MELONS, GUAPPLES, MANGOES, SANTOL, KAIMITO...
Homemade ices, better known as sorbets (a.k.a. sherbets, gelati or the granular granita) are the least complicated of frozen desserts. They are a startling improvement on what most commercial manufacturers call ice cream, with all those horrific emulsifiers, nameless fats, artificial flavorings and number-coded colors. All it requires is natural fruit juices or purees mixed with sugar.
As a general rule, what could be had as a drink can be made into a sherbet. However, bear in mind that the low temperature of the sherbet mutes its taste. Therefore, the mixture should be more strongly flavored or sweeter than a regular drink.
In the absence of an ice cream maker or churn (whether electric-powered or hand-cranked), a rectangular stainless tray will do.
Here’s the trick: This process is called still-freezing. As the name suggests, it means freezing without simultaneously stirring.
1) Pour the fruit juice mixture into the tray and set in freezer. It is best if the tray is in direct contact with the freezing element.
2) Large flakes or crystals of ice will form. The best possible time to beat the mixture is when the sides and bottom start to become firm and the center is fairly liquid. Transfer the mixture into a large chilled bowl and beat vigorously with a whisker.
3) Pour mixture back into tray and return to freezer.
4) About 30 minutes before serving, put in the refrigerator the rock-hard sherbet (this is called ripening or softening). The objective is to soften it enough to scrape with a large spoon and serve.
Still and all, if you find this whole process too tedious, why not just put the fruit mix in those tiny plastic bags (2’ x 10’) and freeze – a la iced candy!
Our sherbet recipes follow no set proportions or measurements. Do it according to your personal preference or taste. As a sweetener, use refined or brown sugar, muscovado or honey. For that added tang, a dollop of kalamansi or dayap juice could be used (Why not kamias!), and for a little spike, add a spoonful of instant salabat (ginger tea).
Flexibility is the name of the game – make use of whatever is in abundance and available. Watermelons, melons, green or ripe mangoes, guapples, santol, buko, pineapple, sampalok, kaimito, dalandan, and, of course, when available, the king of fruits, durian! The sherbet can be served as is, with champagne, or as a topping with any combination of the above fruits, diced and flavored with liqueur or rum.
Like champagne cocktails, champagne ices call for nothing too grand in the way of wine and rely on other ingredients for much of their flavor. Alcohol inhibits the formation of ice crystals, so this ice never freezes really hard at domestic freezer temperatures and needs no ripening before serving.
2 cups dalandan juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2-1/2 cups sparkling wine
4 Tbsps. brandy
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Fruits courtesy of Ely’s Farm in Angeles City. Call (045)888-4224 for inquiries.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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