Some people like to do a lot of canning, jamming and pickling this time of year, to preserve summer’s harvest of ripe fruits and vegetables. Others simply chop them up and throw them in the freezer. In something of a cross between jamming and throwing in the freezer, I decided to take up the age-old tradition of boozy sorbet-making.
Actually, boozy sorbet is kind of a fad, and therefore I’m a little embarrassed to have fashioned a recipe for it (I’m food fad-averse). But let me tell you why: As usual, I was strolling through Grand Army Plaza’s Greenmarket this Saturday. But after sleeping in, and with the storm soon approaching, most vendors were closing up shop right as I got there. Rats! I thought. I really want to get raspberries to make sorbet with — or maybe try doing something with the zucchini flowers I’ve been eyeing all August. But one vendor was sitting calm and somewhat lonely-looking amidst the rush of shoppers frantically snatching beefsteak tomatoes while farmers tried to fold their tables: the Tickle Hill Wine vendor. So, long story short, the raspberry-watermelon sorbet that had been brewing in my head all morning evolved to a peach-watermelon sangria-inspired sorbet. Thanks to a bottle of “Tickle Me Pink” blush wine.
I found it interesting that the family-owned winery, the sole wine vendor at this particular Greenmarket, hails all the way from Hector, New York. I hadn’t come across this winery when I spent a long weekend last summer drinking my way along Seneca Lake, but it must have been right under my nose then. Who knew I’d instead find their wine in my own backyard, in Brooklyn? The bottle I chose, a semi-dry (but mostly sweet) pink table wine was just perfect for the job I had in store for it. Its nose was deliciously fruity, a bit peachy, even. And its flavor was bursting with strawberry, melon and most of all, concord grape. It’s a lovely summer wine, and Karol and I enjoyed polishing off the bottle of it last night.
I was able to snag some peaches at the market, but alas, no watermelon could be found. Buckling under my recipe-making determination, I bought a watermelon at a nearby store. For the sangria theme, I considered cutting some of the fruit into cubes and making the sorbet chunky. But in the end I decided it’d be much better to just garnish the finished product with fresh, juicy fruit rather than have hard, frozen chunks throughout.
Finally, since ginger ale is often an important player in sangria, I added a little grated fresh ginger to the fruit mixture.
And there you have it: a refreshing frozen dessert so easy to prepare (as long as you have an ice cream maker) that I wonder why sorbet hasn’t replaced the canning craze. Hm, what about making one with heirloom tomatoes next?
Peach Watermelon Sangria Sorbet
(makes 1 quart)
2 medium peaches, cored and peeled
2 1/2 lb piece of watermelon, seeds and rind removed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup semi-dry rosé, blush wine, pink Zinfandel, Riesling (or any slightly sweet wine of your choice)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and liquid is completely clear, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Cut the peaches and watermelon into 2″ chunks and puree in a food processor or blender. Add the grated ginger and lemon juice. Pour into an airtight container and add the wine and cooled sugar water, and stir. Chill in a refrigerator 2 hours.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow your machine’s instructions for making sorbet. Freeze in an airtight container about 1 hour or so before serving to “set” the sorbet.
(for 1 quart of sorbet)
2 peaches (at $2.50/lb): $1.75
2 1/2 lb watermelon (at $0.69/lb): $1.73
1/2 cup blush wine (at $10/bottle): $1.67
1 tablespoon lemon juice: $0.20
1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1/2 cup sugar: $0.20
Five brownie points: I went easier on sugar than most sorbet recipes do. The balance all depends on how sweet your fruit are (and in this case, wine). So after sampling some of the luscious peaches and red, red watermelon I thought I’d see how well they’d shine through without adulterating with too much sugar. Watermelon is a good source of lycopene, and peaches, albeit skinless, add lots of Vitamin C. I suggest eating the discarded skins instead of tossing them in the trash or compost bin — what else is fuzzy on one side, juicy on the other side? Fun!
Six maple leaves: The main ingredients are purely watermelon and peaches. Even though I got my watermelon from a chain grocery store rather than a small farmer at the Greenmarket, they’re right in season and probably didn’t come from too far away (because watermelons are heavy!). Those little pinches of exotic lemon and ginger are damaging to the rating, but the splash of upstate, small winery wine is an addition that I can feel good about.