June 06, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet in Ice Bowls

A little while back, I was asked by Valerie Howes, the food editor at Reader's Digest to write an article about frozen desserts for the magazine's July issue. Right away, I knew what I wanted to write about: homemade ice bowls filled with berry sorbet. I've been making these bowls for years because they are quite magical. They're lined with flowers, berries, and herbs which you can see through the ice.


These bowls are extremely satisfying to make because they always turn out looking pretty, no matter what you put in them or if you think you didn't do them quite right. You can't make an ugly ice bowl, it's not humanly impossible. You can use your irresistible bowl to serve sorbet or ice cream on a hot summer day, it will keep your frozen treats from melting too fast. 

Valerie wrote about our lovely afternoon making ice bowls on her blog, Open Kitchen, which I've been following with admiration for a long time. We spent a splendid few hours together, sharing stories about food, farming, love and life. And then we ate bowls of strawberry rhubarb sorbet in the late afternoon sunshine. Now that's what I call the beginning of a wonderful friendship!




I don't remember where I originally got the ice bowl bug (I'm certainly not the genius who came up with the idea!) but I've been making them since I was a teenager. I used to whip them up them whenever we had summer guests and to this day, even though it was 20 years ago, my beloved Mami (who appears in this video I did on her birthday last summer) still talks about the time I made blackberry sorbet served in lavender-filled ice bowls. These bowls have always made me think of Mami because they are delicate, elegant and graceful, just like her!

As for the strawberry rhubarb sorbet recipe I'm sharing with you today, it is naturally rich and creamy even though it's made up of only 3 ingredients: strawberries, rhubarb and sugar. It's dead easy to make, you won't even need an ice cream maker.

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do. May they help keep you cool on hot summer days. 

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB SORBET (Adapted from Canadian Living)

3 1/2 to 4 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
3/4 cup cane sugar (this is for a tart, not too sweet sorbet, if you prefer sweeter, use 1 cup)
Optional: 1 tbsp. finely ground chia seed (aside from being super healthy, these give a creamier texture to sorbets)

Cook the rhubarb with a little water (about 1/4 cup) until soft, around 10 minutes. Add the sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Allow to cool. Puree the rhubarb with the strawberries in a food processor and freeze in a shallow pan for about 4 hours. Break up the frozen mix into chunks and return it to the food processor. Puree until very smooth and velvety. Return to the freezer for an hour to two, or until serving time.



ICE BOWLS

Materials:

-4 medium and 4 small plastic bowls, with a 2–3 cm difference in height and width (yoghurt containers also work fine for this)

-1 pitcher of ice-cold water

-Around 4 cups of small edible flowers, berries and herbs (see suggestions below)

-Small heavy objects to use as weights, such as rocks or coins



1. Pour water into the 4 medium bowls so it covers about 2 cm at the bottom of each. Put the bowls in the freezer until the water is frozen solid. Be sure to keep them level so that the water doesn’t freeze lopsided.



2. Remove medium bowls from the freezer, working on just one at a time so the water doesn’t melt. Place a smaller bowl on top of the ice base inside the medium bowl, making sure it’s centred. Fill the smaller bowl with a layer of heavy objects to keep it anchored down. In the gap between the small and medium bowls, drop a handful of flowers, herbs, and berries of your choice. Try to make them fill the space vertically as well as horizontally by squeezing the larger flowers, herbs, or berries into the gap so that they are held in place between the walls of the bowls and do not all float to the top. Pour water to fill this space so it reaches 1 centimetre from the rim of the bowl. Tuck in any leaves or flowers that are sticking out of the water. Freeze.



3. Remove the ice bowls from the freezer. Run a little hot water on the outside and inside of the plastic bowls, being careful not to touch the ice, then unmould the bowls. Fill with scoops of sorbet or ice cream and serve immediately.

Suggestions for decorating your ice bowls:
Edible flowers: pansies, violets, roses, lilac, lavender, borage
Herbs: mint, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, fennel leaves
Berries: raspberries, blackberries, red currants, wild strawberries, gooseberries



23 comments:

  1. Good Grief! its too much beauty! I can't wait to make these!

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    1. Thanks Sheena, hope you enjoy making them!!

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  2. I love the video. Thanks for including me in a kitchen vignette!

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    1. It was a pleasure Val, thanks for the opportunity and may we do it again soon :-)

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  3. Replies
    1. aw thanks Pam! but i can't take credit for the original idea, i just recreate them ;-)

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  4. This is such a fantastic idea! I just started blogging and yours is by far one of my favorites. Can't wait to make these. Thanks so much!
    Trish
    jelly-bones.typepad.com

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    1. Hi Trish, thanks so much for your kind words :-) Your blog is lovely, and I'm very glad to finally know that those little yellow flowers are called Billy Buttons, I love them too! Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

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  5. Magnificent presentation. I am impressed, made me really want to try it at home too...Love the colors!

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    1. Thank you! And thanks to your comment, I just discovered your lovely blog, love the look of the roast beef sandwhich, yum! I'll be stopping by again :-)

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  6. Beautiful, beautiful video! And love that you used music from the Free Music Archive.

    -Emily
    nothinginthehouse.com // a pie blog

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    1. Hi Emily, thanks for your comment and yes, free music archive is an amazing resource, I love it. And I love your pie blog!! I am a pie fanatic so I'll be checking-in again... seeing your green tomato pie recipe made my day, will be trying that one out for sure :-)

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  7. Your posts just keep getting more and more beautiful and enlightening Aube. Good work again!

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  8. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST! Absolutely gorgeous!
    www.samanthabui.com

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  9. Aube, what happens to the bowls after you eat that lovely sherbet? :) Compost? I will try to make these!

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    1. Hi Gina, I have actually reused the bowls several times because they don't melt very fast so i just give them a rinse and stick them back in the freezer! But yes, eventually, they do end up in the compost, feeding next year's garden :-) Let me know if you make them! <3

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  10. Only recently have I found this blog and I am addicted to it!
    Just finished making this today and it tastes heavenly! I missed out the chia seed as I didnt have any but added the zest and juice of half a lemon which balanced out the sugar (I was a little over zealous when I poured it in!)
    I'm looking forward to your culinary updates, your blog has inspired me to possibly create an account here myself!

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    1. Thanks so much Alexandra! I'm so glad you enjoyed the sorbet, and lemon is a great addition... Blogging is so much fun, you'll love it, let me know if you start one up :-) A very happy summer to you!

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  11. I like your different ideas ver much.

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  12. congratulations guys, quality information you have given!!! shave ice machine

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