Tuesday, July 1, 2008

12. Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet (p. 860)

Have you ever noticed that most recipes that use buttermilk only call for a little bit of it (half-cup here, two-thirds of a cup there)? Yet, I've never seen buttermilk sold in anything smaller than a quart size. Now, I'm not about to follow Harry Truman's lead (legend has it that instead of staying up to watch the returns on election night in 1948, Truman had a ham sandwich and a glass of buttermilk and went to bed early), so I usually end up throwing away all of the leftover buttermilk. (But first, the carton often gets pushed to the back of the refrigerator where it's forgotten for a few weeks until it starts breathing and knocking on the refrigerator door to be let out, and then it gets thrown out.) But in these days of rising food costs (I wouldn't be surprised if M.F.K. Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf becomes a bestseller again) waste not, want not is the motto.

A few days ago, my wife made a couscous dish from Cooking Light that called for a small amount of buttermilk. I resolved not to throw away the remaining buttermilk, and I went straight to The Book's index to find recipes using buttermilk. I came across this great sherbet.

This recipe couldn't be easier. It's just buttermilk (a nice two-cup portion ... only about a quarter-cup left in my carton, dare me to drink it?), corn syrup, lemon zest and juice, and sugar. Mix it all up, chill for a while, and then put it in an ice cream maker. Let me just say that I'm getting reacquainted with my Cuisinart ice cream maker after the machine's long sabbatical in our attic. A few weeks ago, I made the Watermelon Sorbet from Alice Waters's The Art of Simple Food. It was great, and the ice cream maker is a breeze to use. I don't know why this poor appliance was banished to the attic (like the crazy wife in Jane Eyre), while my never-used bread maker and cappuccino machine manged to keep prime real estate on my kitchen baker's rack. Well, the situation has been remedied. The bread maker has been retired to the attic, and the cappuccino maker was sold at our recent yard sale.

This sherbet was excellent. Tart and refreshing. The lemon juice, zest and buttermilk give it a tang and zing that is sure to make you pucker. My wife thought that it was too much, though. It had a nice creaminess without being too rich. The only problem that I had with the recipe was that as the sherbet mixture churned in the ice cream maker, some of the zest got caught on the machine's mixing arm resulting in some pretty large clumps of zest throughout the sherbet ... an unpleasant surprise if you get a spoonful of that!

I enjoyed this sherbet with some of the leftover Brown Sugar-Ginger Crisps that I had stashed in the freezer. Delicious! I think that lemon and ginger are best friends.

Date Cooked: June 28, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Easy
Rating: A

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