Nectarine Sorbet

Yesterday felt like fall. The air was crisp, cool, and dry, with dappled golden sunlight. There were patches of yellow and red appearing in a few of the trees. With two weeks left of summer, my daughters are reviewing, crossing off entries in their summer lists. These include things like "go kayaking", "go raspberry picking",  and "make peanut butter buckeye ice cream".

One of the pleasures of summer is picking flowers at a nearby pick-your-own field. We make our way among rows of color with a pair of pruners; brilliant velvet cockscomb, papery strawflowers, ruffled cosmos on delicate stems, towering pale sunflowers, and the orbs of nodding dahlias. Fuzzy bees, tiny honeybees, and blue wasps whirring around our arms and ears, dust collecting on our shoes. My youngest daughter is surprised by the sudden movement and sound of wings as a group of small birds lifts from within the mass of flowers she is clipping from.

With all of the fruit picking we have done, we found ourselves with fifteen pounds of nectarines collected last week, now ripe and softened.  I found a recipe in Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones for nectarine sorbet. It  has a smooth, creamy texture and tastes like pure, sweet nectarine.

Nectarine Sorbet

adapted, barely from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones: 90 Recipes for Making Your Own Ice Cream from Bi-Rite Creamery

3 pounds ripe nectarines (about 6 large nectarines), pitted and cut into chunks

6 tablespoons water

6 tablespoons tapioca syrup or corn syrup (I was unable to find tapioca syrup, so I used corn syrup)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup 1:1 simple syrup (see below)

Purée the nectarines, (I then strained to remove the skins, but this is unnecessary, I will try leaving them in next time). Combine the purée with the water, tapioca (or corn) syrup, lemon juice, salt, and 1/2 cup of the simple syrup. Whisk until well combined and the salt is completely dissolved.

Taste the base. It should taste just a bit too sweet (once the sorbet is frozen, it will lose some of its sweetness). Add the remaining simple syrup if you need it.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. You'll know when it is ready when it goes from a slushy consistency, to a smoother, firmer one (Unlike ice cream, there is no danger over overchurning it). While the sorbet is churning, put the container you will be storing the sorbet in, into the freezer to chill. This will help prevent the sorbet from melting as you transfer it.

Enjoy right away, or for a firmer texture, transfer to the chilled storage container and freeze for about 4 hours.

1:1 Simple Syrup

 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Mix the sugar and water together in a small saucepan (heavier saucepan works best here).

Place over medium heat and stir until the mixture comes to a boil, simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely, about 3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely. Transfer to a covered container and store in the refrigerator up to 1 month.

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