While there was no photo to accompany this recipe, when I saw the title in this month’s Cooking Light, I was intrigued. Strawberry-Black Pepper Sorbet? How could I resist such an interesting combination!
I trotted off to the market and picked up two pounds of strawberries. Though the ones I got were organic, small, dark and sweet, it crossed my mind that this might not be the best strawberry season here in California due to the unusual amount of rain this past winter. Sorbet is a great use for less than wonderful strawberries, as well as wonderful ones. I rinsed and roughly chopped them, making 6 cups of strawberries. I probably lost 1/2 cup of the original 2 pounds while chopping due to sampling.
The recipe called for two tablespoons of black peppercorns to be ground with a mortal and pestal. Fortunately for me, my pepper grinder is full of whole black peppercorns. I ground only 1 tablespoon on the theory that 2 tablespoons of whole peppercorns, once ground, would lose some volume. I prepared the sorbet base and chilled it overnight, as I have found that a cold base will produce the best results in my ice cream maker.
And the results? Sweet, refreshing and with a kick of peppery aftertaste. Unusual and lovely.
Add a shot of tequila (or rum) and a wedge of lime to each serving and make a great barbecue drink. I think the amount of pepper I used was perfect, not too agressive. An added bonus is that using ground pepper simplifies the method, too!
Strawberry-Black Pepper Sorbet
(from Cooking Light, June 2005)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tbsp ground black pepper (fresh, if possible)
2 pounds strawberries, rinsed and roughly chopped (6 cups)
2 tbsp lemon juice
Heat sugar and water in a small sauce pan until sugar dissolves. Stir in pepper.
Place strawberries, sugar syrup and lemon juice into a food processor and process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Do this in two batches, if necessary. Pour into large bowl and chill for several hours or overnight in the fridge.
Pour into prepared ice cream maker and freeze according to the directions (30 minutes in my Cuisinart).
Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until ready to serve. It should be firm after approximately 2 hours in the freezer.