I love, love, love The Nordic Kitchen cookbook that I got for Christmas this past year. It is packed full of a year of recipes inspired by Nordic culture and seasonal foods available in the area. I have been looking forward to spring and summer ever since I cracked this book open for the first time.
So many of the recipes include my most cherished flavors such as fresh berries, greens, and rhubarb! Rhubarb is one of my favorites because it brings me back to growing up on the farm. Walking outside with my dad checking on crops and livestock left time for him to point out random things to teach me about. Anyone that knows my dad knows he can talk (and talk and talk) so I learned a lot about random plants such as rhubarb, various weeds, trees, and even wild marijuana (I've never tried this plant though).
Okay so back to the sorbet before it melts.... this recipe was easy, but very tricky at the same time. It only takes a few ingredients: rhubarb, vanilla bean, water, jaggery, black peppercorns and apple cider vinegar - that's the simple part. The difficult part is getting it to look like sorbet. The book gives a few options on how to make this if you don't have an ice cream maker. I do have one, but still struggled so I thought I would put together some tips for success.
1. If you have a Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker - skip it. It didn't work. I followed all the instructions to a tee even giving the mixer an extra hour in the freezer above the 15 hour minimum and the sorbet didn't turn out.
2. If you resort to the freeze and chop method to make the syrup into a sorbet, make sure you use a food processor not a blender. I tried a blender after my ice cream maker didn't work blending a small amount at a time, but it didn't work either.
3. I didn't try to meringue option so give that a try first if you don't have an ice cream maker or a food processor.
4. If you don't think you have the patience to make this recipe- skip it. The ingredients are difficult to find. I had to purchase the vanilla bean at a grocery store I don't typically shop and the jaggery off Amazon. In regards to the vanilla bean, this retailed at the grocery store for $12 for one bean. I later found 3 beans on Amazon for $10 shipping included. Kind of a pricey recipe in the end.
5. I only put in 2 T and 1 t of the cider vinegar (the recipe calls for 2-3 T) and it was rather tart. I wouldn't recommend the full 3 T.
6. I added 8 drops of red food coloring to the syrup to give it a pink color.
No matter how you get to the end it is yummy nonetheless. Enjoy that darn rhubarb sorbet! You deserve it!
Freshly chopped rhubarb.
By the way, the Norwegian word for rhubarb is rabarbra... how fun!
The rhubarb ready to be boiled into a syrup. The bean boils with it and then thrown out.
I'll admit this doesn't look appetizing, but it does! This is post boil, pre blending.
Finished product. Kick your feet up and enjoy the sorbet with a side of fresh fruit.
Recipe is from The Nordic Kitchen: One Year of Family Cooking by Claus Meyer