If you have an ice cream machine, here are two delicious sorbet recipes that contain buttermilk. Buttermilk adds a hint of richness which makes a nice change from the single dimension of a regular sorbet.
Despite it’s buttery flavor, buttermilk is clean-tasting and almost devoid of fat, so the intense flavors of lemon and lavender (and chocolate) can really shine through.
I wouldn’t necessarily serve them together but as I’d dusted off the ice cream machine in preparation for summer use, I felt compelled to make them both – and when a 17-year old taster proclaims them to be absolutely delicious, then you know they’re good.
I like to use powdered buttermilk reconstituted with water but fresh buttermilk will also work well. Either way, both of these sorbets make a really impressive summer dessert and take no time at all to make, provided you have the machine.
I recommend making the mixture for the lemon and lavender buttermilk sorbet the day before, because dried edible lavender blossoms are rather grey-looking but once they’ve had an overnight soak in the mixture, they revert back to their pretty purple flower color.
Note – if you can’t find edible lavender, the lemon buttermilk sorbet is quite wonderful without.
BUTTERMILK, LEMON & LAVENDER SORBET
(Makes approx 6 cups/1.4 liters)
1/2 cup (120ml) of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
The finely shredded zest of 3 lemons
2 heaped teaspoons of dried edible lavender blossoms
2 cups (470ml) of fine white sugar
4 cups (950ml) of buttermilk
Gently dissolve the sugar with the lemon juice, zest and lavender blossoms over a very low heat, stirring frequently. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, take it off the heat and add the buttermilk, stirring well to blend, then transfer the mixture to a bowl – cover and chill overnight in the fridge.
When you’re ready to make the sorbet, just tip the cold mixture into the ice cream machine and process until it’s done. Transfer the sorbet to the freezer in a sealed plastic container to firm up completely.
BUTTERMILK CHOCOLATE SORBET
(Makes approx 4 cups / 950ml)
5 fl oz (142ml) of half & half or very thin cream
4 oz (114g) of *vanilla sugar
6 oz (170g) of very good dark chocolate chips (about 70%) or chocolate cut into small chunks
2 cups (474ml) of buttermilk
Gently dissolve the sugar in the thin cream (or half & half) over a low heat then bring it to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and add the chocolate pieces, whisking until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the buttermilk, whisking to blend thoroughly.
Proceed as above.
*Vanilla sugar is easy to make; just add a split vanilla pod to a fairly large, screwtop glass jar of fine white sugar and let it absorb the flavor for about a week. As you use the sugar, just add some more – the vanilla pod will keep doing it’s job for ages.