You gotta love Canadians. In what other country do people head outdoors wearing short-shorts and flip-flops, with their lily-white legs exposed for all the world to see, the moment the mercury rises above 12 ºC? Spring fever is raging here in Western Canada as we enjoy unseasonably warm weather and plenty of sunshine. Although I haven’t pulled out my summer wardrobe just yet, I have been thinking a lot about two of my favourite hot weather pleasures – fresh fruit and frozen treats. It’s still early for strawberries (very early) but my corner market has stacks of them on display. Priced at two pounds for $5.00, I couldn’t resist.
Strawberries picked this early in the season are going to need a little extra love. Adding sugar will enhance their flavour, as will lemon juice, and a bit of vanilla.
It’s a good idea to pull ice cream or sherbet from the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving. Coldness suppresses sweetness, so that slight rise in temperature can go a long way towards maximizing flavour.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound fresh strawberries
1/2 cup cream cheese (spreadable)
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for one minute, until sugar is dissolved. Pour the simple syrup into a heat proof container and place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Peel the bananas and slice into one-inch chunks.
- Wash and hull the strawberries, then slice them in half.
- Place fruit on a baking sheet in a single layer then freeze for at least two hours. At the same time, place an empty metal pan or bowl in the freezer to chill.
- Once the strawberries and bananas are frozen, combine them with the simple syrup and all remaining ingredients in your food processor’s work bowl. Blend, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed, until the texture is smooth and creamy. You’re looking for a consistency similar to soft serve ice cream.
- Pour the whipped sherbet into the chilled metal pan or bowl and place in the freezer overnight.