Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lemon Verbena Sorbet

Sheila's lemon verbena

I found this recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks - The Herbfarm Cookbook, by Jerry Traunfeld - and have kept a lemon verbena plant ever since, babying it through our wicked winters (well, wicked if you're a tender perennial). Mr Traunfeld pairs it with Lavender Shortbread, which is just fine, but you will never get over your first (or second, or third) taste of this sorbet. I kid you not. It's incredible. It will make you want to break into song, even if you are an old songless grouch. And whatever you do, don't be asking if you can use lemon balm instead (it's a very very very poor cousin in this case).

1 cup lemon verbena leaves, packed
1 cup superfine sugar (I have always used plain old white sugar)
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
3 cups cold water

First, put the sugar and lemon verbena in the food processor. Grind grind grind. When the sugar is green, add the lemon juice, then the water, pausing now and then to scrape down the sugar on the sides. Strain well, because this baby is fibrous. Then you have a couple of choices: if you have one of those electric churning ice cream thingies, toss the mixture in and wait til it's ready, if you have nothing vaguely resembling this, toss the mixture into a shallow baking tin and freeze it until it's frozen solid, then toss it back into your food processor. Give it a few whizzes and it should be fine.



this is my patch said...

I happen to have just bought a lemon verbena. When it has bushed out a little I shall try your recipe. I haven't discovered any more recipes yet. x

Cloudscome said...

This sounds fabulous! I just put the ice cream maker in the freezer to get cold so we can make raspberry sorbet tomorrow with the berries we picked today.

I don't have a food processor. I wonder if I can mix it by hand? And what do you strain it with, cheesecloth? A screen strainer? I am going to look for some lemon verbena so I can try this. Thanks!

sheila said...

Do you have a coffee grinder? You could use that. Or even use one of those fine graters - those lemon raspers. Or one of those mortar and pestle thingies. The problem with not using a processor is that the verbena is fibrous and it would take a lot to break down the fibers.

You could use a tea strainer to strain it no problem. I think I use a large metal strainer. Once I left it unstrained...never again. I chewed my way through that batch of sorbet.

Good luck. I'll be curious to see what you use and what your results are.

sheila said...

Louise, let me know how you over winter yours. I had one plant for 3 years (indoors in the winter) before it succumbed to cold one day when I had popped it outside for a few days. This latest plant is doing fine but our climate classification is 7-8 so I think I'm going to have to continue with the inside winter thing.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Man oh man, how I love lemon verbena, but I've killed TWO of them. And there's no way I can bring it indoors in the winter because those blasted cats will eat my plants. I finally planted lemon balm for its scent, but I know very well that it is no substitute.

By the way, a good friend of mine made Earl Grey ice-cream for my birthday. He put lemon shortbread cookies in it, which gave it a nice lemony counterpoint.

5orangepotatoes said...

Yum! I love lemon verbena. I tried to overwinter mine this year, but had it in a drafty window. Oops, it didn't like that so much. I can't wait for spring to buy another one.

What a fantastic idea. I will be trying this as soon as I get my hands on another plant!

BTW, yes, I did cry about David T. leaving. Such an emotional Doctor Who. Little nervous about Matt Smith, didn't like that he yelled "geronimo," too western USA for me.

Love your site. Will be back.

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