This sophisticated flavour combination puts a new spin on a classic. Taken from Letitia Clark’s new book La Vita è Dolce, this refreshing sorbet is the perfect summer treat
PEACH & BASIL SORBET. IMAGE: CHARLOTTE BLAND
I always want to be a sorbet sort of person, but inevitably I fall (willingly) down the pistachio gelato rabbit-hole, and I almost never order gelato’s frostier and fruitier sorbetto sister. The problem with sorbet is that I find it can be a little bit too light. Most of the time I feel the need for something a bit denser. That is why this sorbet is so wonderful, because the velvety peach purée that it produces has substantial body, and doesn’t really feel flimsily light at all; instead silky, thick and luxurious. The last week or two of July, when the days are peach-sticky with heat, is when I will finally want sorbet. The peaches at this time are like the peaches of your wildest dreams, the ‘Giant Peaches’ of Roald Dahl’s James. Fleshy and drunk with juice and sweetness, their downy jackets paper-thin, puncturing under a careless nail when held in a hot hand.
I love using herbs and basil is the archetypal herb of high summer. I have paired it before in a peach jam, and I eat it in one of my favourite summer salads: prosciutto, basil and peaches (sometimes I add burrata for gentle overkill). The combination is so good I thought it would make a good sorbet (minus the prosciutto). So here it is; maybe once you’ve tried it, you too will eschew precious pistachio at last. If you want to replace the basil with mint, it also works very well.
Peach & Basil Sorbet
Makes 1 litre (34 fl oz / 4 cups)
- 200 g (7 oz/¾ cup, plus 2 tbsp) sugar
- 100 ml (3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup) water
- 20 leaves of fresh basil, washed, patted dry and torn (one bunch should easily supply this many)
- 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) very ripe peaches
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small saucepan. Allow to simmer for 1 minute (swirl the pan to make sure the sugar has melted but do not stir). Once you have a clear, shiny, thick syrup, remove from the heat. Drop in the basil leaves, then decant the syrup into a glass jug or bowl to cool. Cover.
- Cut the peaches into chunks and macerate them with the lemon zest and the lemon juice. (I just peel this in strips with a swivelpeeler here as everything will be blitzed and strained eventually but you can finely zest it if you prefer.)
- When the syrup has cooled, pour it over the peaches and leave the whole lot to infuse for a few hours at room temperature (or covered in the fridge overnight).
- Blend everything (leaves, zest and peach flesh) in a blender until you have a smooth purée.
- Sieve the mixture, discarding the bits of basil left behind in the sieve, making sure to press the pulp to extract all the flavours and juices.
- Transfer to an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Store in an airtight container.
This article contains affiliate links
Feeling inspired? You can share this article using the buttons at the top of the page. Discover more delicious recipes on The Home Page here…