During summer, I take every opportunity to make ice cream or sorbet. (If you look in my freezer, you'll find a reserved space for the ice cream maker container.) There really is no better time to make frozen treats than on the hottest summer days. And who wants to bake anyway? (Though I still bake summer pies and cakes.) Sorbets are my favorite because they're easy to make and full of fruit flavor. And you can pretty much make sorbet out of any fruit. There's no custard to cook as with ice cream, and in most cases the fruit goes in raw—keeping the best fresh flavor.
Since sour cherries are in season right now, I couldn't help not making a sorbet out of them. I love it when sorbets are more like palate-cleansers than overly sweet icy desserts. And what fruit could do the duty better than sour cherries? Only one cup of sugar goes into taming the sour cherries' tartness, ensuring a little tang lingers. A little bit of lemon juice in the mix helps keep the color bright more than making the sorbet sour. This dessert has everything going for it flavor-wise—you really taste the cherries. It's not laden with any unpronounceable ingredients. It's just pure and natural.
Sour Cherry Sorbet
Note: For the best results, make sure to look for the ripest sour cherries you can find—the darker, the riper. You can also use sweet bing cherries.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 quart sour cherries (about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
1 cup Simple Syrup, recipe follows
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until syrup is clear, about 5 minutes. Let cool and chill.
Using an immersion blender, purée sour cherries. Force mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. There should be about 2 cups liquid. Combine with simple syrup and lemon juice. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and churn for about 40 minutes, depending on the machine. Transfer to a large container, such as a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until hard, about 12 hours or overnight. Yield: 1-1/2 quarts.