Faced with dessert menu, choice can be between sweet and sensible and sweet and sinful.
Here's one that almost qualifies as sensible (if you discount Lambic beer) amongst recipes offered in The Sugar Cube (Chronicle Books, April 2012) by Kir Jensen with Danielle Centoni.
Kir Jensen is the owner of The Sugar Cube, a pink food truck in Portland, Oregon, "that is thronged daily by hungry hordes craving voluptuous sweets intensified with a spike of booze, a lick of sea salt, or a “whoop” of whipped cream."
Cherry Lambic Sorbet
Makes 1 quart
Sour, dry Belgian lambics are just bursting with flavor, so I love incorporating them into desserts. For this sorbet, inspired by a recipe in The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto, I use both cherry lambic and a pound of fresh cherries for a double wallop of fruit flavor. It has a beautifully smooth easy-to-scoop texture and would make an amazing float with spicy ginger ale. After measuring out the half cup of beer to reduce on the stove, you’ll be tempted to drink the rest, but don't drink it all! I know it’s hard to resist, but you need a few tablespoons of unboiled lambic to brighten the sorbet’s flavor.
1/2 cup Lindeman’s Kriek cherry lambic beer, plus 2 tablespoons
3 cups (about 1 pound) firmly packed fresh or frozen pitted cherries
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups Sorbet Syrup #2 (recipe follows)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
In a small saucepan, bring the ½ cup of lambic beer to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, puree the cherries, lemon juice, sorbet syrup, and salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium mixing bowl, pressing on the solids to squeeze all the juices out. Stir in the reduced lambic and the remaining 2 tablespoons fresh lambic.
Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container, put plastic wrap directly on the surface, and freeze overnight, or until firm enough to scoop (because of the alcohol it’ll take longer to freeze).
Tip: Just as ovens can vary in efficiency, so can freezers. It might take longer for your sorbets and ice creams to firm up than it takes for mine. Just be patient. If you’re planning on serving one as a dinner party dessert, your best bet is to start it the day before. This way you give the mixture time to chill down properly before churning, and you give the churned ice cream or sorbet time to firm up before serving.
Sorbet Syrup #2
Makes 2 1/2 cups
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups water
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, remove from the heat, and transfer to a metal bowl. Chill in an ice bath or in the refrigerator until very cold before using.
(* Recipe from The Sugar Cube by Kir Jensen with Danielle Centoni-Chronicle Books, April 2012- photography by Lisa Warninger- reproduced with permission of publisher, all rights reserved)