The extraordinary combination of lemongrass, cilantro and lime sing in a sweet, icy and somewhat creamy sorbet. This dish is bright and expressive, and works equally well whether served as an intermezzo or your final dessert. It is a wonderful finale to a creamy rich dessert. Just one small scoop in an icy martini glass with a mint sprig is the perfect and final punctuation to an indulgent meal.
Serves 8 to 10
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
5 stalks lemongrass, 1 or 2 outer leaves peeled away, coarsely chopped (yield a generous ¼ cup)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, gently packed (tender leaf-end stems are okay)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch of sea salt
1 Tbsp Vodka (optional)
2 cloves (optional)
Prepare an ice bath, by placing a large bowl filled with ice cubes in the sink. Fill the bowl with cold water.
Put the milk, water, sugar, lemongrass and cilantro in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep for 10 minutes. Cool the mixture by placing into the ice bath; stirring the liquid frequently.
Pour the cold mixture into a blender or the bowl of a food processor and add the lime juice and sea salt. Process until lemongrass and cilantro are finely ground and incorporated into the mixture. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, extracting as much liquid as possible from the remaining solids. Place the mixture in the freezer bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
20 minutes before service, place the container with the frozen sorbet in the refrigerator to soften. Place a sprig of fresh mint in a chilled martini glass. Using a small ice cream scoop, place a scoop of the sorbet in the chilled glass, alongside the mint sprig. Serve immediately.
[Chef’s Note: For an optional flavor twist, add 1 tablespoon vodka and 2 whole cloves to the steeping mixture. The addition of the vodka and clove add a complexity and fullness to the overall flavor, tempering the sweetness of the recipe. The vodka will slow the freezing process down, so allow additional time if you include it.]
Recipe and photo by Donna Marie Zotter