I had a cooking disaster the other night.
I was trying to make white gazpacho with crab salad for a dinner party. I never got to the crab salad portion, because the gazpacho failed spectacularly. I wanted cool, creamy, refreshing; I got watery, grainy, bland. It was inedible, even after several rounds of straining and pureeing, and eventually I had to throw the whole thing out.
I sulked. I brooded. I whined to my boyfriend. After a while, I decided I wanted something sweet as a comfort. So I opened the freezer and pulled out a container of homemade blackberry-coconut sorbet. I’d found the idea for it in a Jezebel open comment thread, of all places. There wasn’t much to go on–just a few ballpark quantities and a note that it was transcendently delicious. I couldn’t resist trying it out, and whipped up a batch of deep purple sorbet, enriched with coconut milk. The texture turned out thick, creamy, luscious–more like ice cream than sorbet.
I stuck a spoon into the container and took a taste. Instantly I was reminded of childhood summers, when we went hunting for wild blackberries in the creeks near my parents’ house. I remembered straining to reach the ripest, plushest berries at the very top of the brambles. I remembered my first big blackberry scratch, all the way up the back of my leg, and taking a swim in the local pool to dislodge the thorns. I savored that scoop of sorbet–sweet-tart blackberry, rich coconut, whispers of honey and vanilla and rum–and slowly I sank into a summery calm.
And just like that, I was kitchen-powerful again.
Blackberry-Coconut Sorbet (makes 1 quart)
Inspired by a Jezebel commenter
3 cups ripe blackberries, washed
1 (15 oz) can coconut milk OR 1 1/2 cups fresh coconut milk
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
2 tbsp light rum
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, then discard the solids. Freeze the strained puree in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape the frozen sorbet into a container with a tight-fitting lid, and freeze for 1-2 hours, or until it’s firm but scoopable.
To store the sorbet, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface, then cover the container tightly. It should keep in the freezer for a month or two–possibly even longer, if you have more self-control than I do.