Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Cute name aside, this recipe really was heading downhill until I hit upon the idea of turning it into a drink. You see, I was actually attempting to make a sorbet – without an ice-cream machine. If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a bit of a “jump-in-the-deep-end” kind of gal. I’d never made a sorbet before but how hard could it be? Um, a little bit hard apparently.
The whole thing started with jasmine. Thanks to the warmer weather, the Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) bush in the garden had started to flower. I’d been raring to try a very interesting technique to make perfumed water with jasmine flowers, as described by David Thompson in his book Thai Food (method below).
Inspired by my recent granita success, I thought I’d use the perfumed water to make a sorbet flavoured with green apple. This is where things started going a bit pear shaped (or apple shaped as the case may be). I had every intention of beating the sorbet mixture every hour for as long as it took but I’d started the process a little bit late in the evening. So I only managed four mixings/beatings before I went to bed – thinking I’d wake up and give it a good mix with the beaters and it would be still ok. The sorbet had other ideas. What I succeeded in making was an extremely smooth granita but a granita nonetheless.
Okaaaay, I could live with a granita instead of a sorbet, but then I tasted it. Have you ever had that happen? The effort, the anticipation, the hope, then the disappointment as the item you made didn’t taste anything like you’d imagined it would.
Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t taste bad but the flavours just weren’t working well together. I was hoping the green apple would have given an acid balance to the floral jasmine but the overall taste was one of overwhelming sweetness. And the apple flavour seemed to be jostling for supremacy against the jasmine scent.
Luckily, a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of soda water later – the problem was solved! And we even jazzed it up just for the adults by adding lime juice instead of lemon and a dash of rum. Mojito anyone?
Jasmine and green apple granita
(I’m posting the recipe anyway with the caveat that it is too sweet. Maybe you can re-mix it your way and let me know if you come up with a better flavour combo).
(abridged from Thai Food by David Thompson. I made a half portion using 11/2 cups water and 5 jasmine flowers.)
4 cups water
10 jasmine flowers or 1 cup less pungent flowers
2 ylang ylang flowers (optional)
Bring water to the boil. Cool then pour into a wide bowl.
Clean jasmine or other flowers then add to the water. If using ylang ylang flowers, briefly wilt them over a flame - this helps to release their perfume – before placing them in a small dish and floating them on the water. Seal bowl and leave overnight (I used a clean glass jar with a lid). Remove flowers before use.
- Cool boiled water absorbs more fragrance than straight tap water
- Only steep blossoms overnight as the fragrance becomes flat and dull after 24 hours.
For the granita:
11/2 cups perfumed water
100ml green apple juice (from 1 green apple)
Instead of juicing the apple, I whizzed it in the food processor then sieved the mush to collect the juice – mainly because I couldn’t be bothered lugging out the juicer from the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards.
Make a simple syrup by bringing the perfumed water and the sugar to a gentle simmer and stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cool a little, then stir in the apple juice. (May benefit from the addition of lemon juice at this point).
Place in a freezer proof container then put into freezer for about an hour. Check to see if ice has started to form around the edges of the container. Beat with a whisk or beaters, or if you don’t mind a grainier version use a fork to scrape the ice and mix the liquid and ice together. Put back in freezer. Repeat the beating/mixing process again in about an hour, then again in another hour. When happy with the granita’s consistency, cover and freeze until ready to serve.
(Apparently, with a sorbet, you’re meant to beat it every half hour or so until it is ready, but mine seemed to take forever to freeze which is when I gave up and went to bed).