It's been an interesting few weeks in my house, to say the least. My fiance, in an effort to get back to "fighting weight," gave up beer and refined sugar for Lent. (As for me, I gave up French fries. It's been tough. I really really like French fries.) His abstinence has been hard on the both of us: I lost my number one recipe tester and he's forced to watch me eat sweets from the sideline.
In order to satisfy his worst cravings, I've been making a riff on the famous olive oil granola, using no sugar and a minimal amount of honey. I add pepitas, pistachios, almonds, dried cherries, and unsweetened coconut; tossed with yogurt it almost seems like dessert. (Okay, I add chocolate chips to mine. So kill me.)
It's been almost a month now and he's finally getting tired of oats, so I decided to come up with something new and satisfying for him to nibble. Ice cream is his ultimate sweet treat, so I figured I'd try my hand at sorbet, but using honey to replace refined sugar. I chose to create a classic strawberry recipe using the season's ripest fruit; spring has been good to us at the farmer's markets in Georgia.
To be honest, I'd never made sorbet before, and I couldn't be more shocked at how simple it was. Seriously, I make ice cream all of the time and this was so much easier. Just puree the fruit, add some honey, chill, then freeze. Um, okaaay. Needless to say, I'll be making homemade sorbet from here on out, and I don't think I'll ever even miss the sugar. Hopefully my man will agree. (And I'm pretty sure he will.)
Strawberry and Honey Sorbet
Serves 2 to 4
1 pint (16 ounces) strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vodka (or flavored liqueur of choice), optional
Juice from one lemon
Place the strawberries in a blender and puree until very smooth. Push the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove some of the seeds. Whisk in the honey, vodka, and lemon juice. (You want this to be on the sweet side since freezing will dull the flavor.) Cover and chill the mixture.
Once the strawberry mixture is completely chilled, pour into the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Return the sorbet to the freezer for a couple more hours to continue firming up.
Note: the vodka helps lower the freezing point of the sorbet, giving it a softer texture and preventing it from getting too hard.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)