How do you feel about sherbet? I have always thought of sherbet as the humbler cousin of rich, decadent ice cream and elegant, tangy sorbet (or sorbetto, depending on which country’s frozen confections you prefer). I discovered a new love for sherbet when I moved to the Midwest, where the treat seems to have remained more popular than in other parts of the country. Sherbet combines the highlights of both ice cream and sorbet, its intense fruitiness tempered by the creaminess of a little milkfat.
It has a been a good summer for luscious, fresh fruit sorbets. Our friend Laura recently treated us to an intensely aromatic trifecta of mango, raspberry, and blueberry sorbets, and our friend Randy shared his secret of adding a slug of vodka to sorbet to ensure a smooth, creamy texture; the alcohol prevents ice crystals from forming. (It’s good to have a food and nutrition scientist as a friend!)
As much as I have been enjoying fruit sorbets, I’m surprised to discover how much I miss sherbet in this new dairy-free life of mine. So, when I found myself with some leftover pineapple compote after last weekend’s Pancake Sunday, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. In this sherbet, coconut milk stands in for the dairy found in typical sherbets, and its tropical flavor pairs perfectly with pineapple. Summer hasn’t quite relinquished her hold on us yet…
2 cups fresh pineapple
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar (more or less, to taste)
1 to 2 Tbsp vodka*
*You won’t (or shouldn’t) taste the vodka — it’s just here as a bouncer, making sure to keep pesky ice crystals out of the party.
Simmer pineapple and honey (or agave nectar) in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for about ten minutes. Set aside to cool.
Combine cooled pineapple mixture, coconut milk, and 1 Tbsp vodka in a high-powered blender or food processor and process until very smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze. Stir with a fork periodically, about every hour or so, until frozen. Break up the mixture with a fork and pour it back into the food processor. Puree again. If the mixture is icy, add a second tablespoon of vodka while pureeing. Return to container and freeze until ready to enjoy!