Saturday, January 17, 2009

CSA week six - tomato-carambola sorbet

This isn't an unusual combination for salads (and if you haven't tried it, you should) and I always have an eye out for interesting possibilities for sorbets and ice creams. And interesting this did turn out to be.  

1 1/2 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 medium carambola, peeled as best you can and seeded (which is easier than you'd expect if you don't mind unsightly shredded results)
5 fluid ounces sugar (I used a not-fully refined sugar with a bit of molasses still in it)
5 fluid ounces water 
1 pinch salt
juice from one thick lime wedge
1 Tablespoon light rum

1. Purée the tomato and carambola. I ended up with about 2 cups worth so I scaled the other ingredients to match.

2. Make a simple syrup by bringing the sugar, salt and water to a simmer. Let it cool for a few minutes.

3. Mix everything in a blender. You're blending the fruit twice to get it extra smooth.
4. Chill, churn, ripen, scoop. You know the drill.

You can see in the picture that the texture isn't as smooth as my sorbets usually get. I skimped a bit on the rum and over-churned. I've since broken it up like a granita so it's more crumbly than solid which isn't too bad. It'll smooth out as it melts a little.

The tomatoes from this week's CSA share never ripened quite right so the sorbet has that tart, resinous flavor slightly under-ripe tomatoes have. It's an interesting match with the tartness of the carambolas and the slight acid of the lime. I've got to admit that of all the ridiculous flavors of ice cream and sorbet I've made this is the first one that's really wierded me out. It's bright and fruity--the tomato and carambola seamlessly blended into a quite pleasant tropical-noted flavor, but it's still clearly under-ripe tomato in there and it's hard to get past that. I'm going to offer this to my co-workers without telling them what's in it to see if the tomato really is that obvious and how it goes over without that knowledge. 


kat said...

Hmmm not so sure I'm sold on this as a sorbet ;)

billjac said...

It's really something you have to try to know whether the tasty or odd aspects predominate for you. I don't think I came close to explaining the actual flavor.

LaDivaCucina said...

I've had myriad exotic and unusual flavors of sorbets between courses in fine dining restaurants! I think this combo shows a lot of creativity.

However, as for the tomatoes, if you're not going to cook them, you have to expect the flavor to remain the same however you process them. I ended up roasting my under-ripe tomato and it came up fine that way.

Here's a couple of cool flavors I've made in my bartender days in cocktails that would apply to sorbet:

strawberry basil

mango chili

Bye for now!

billjac said...

I may have paired the under-ripe tomato deliberately with the carambola thinking the flavors would match well. Or maybe I just tasted both, thought "close enough" and decided to give it a shot. I really don't remember. Either way, I think the particular flavor of these tomatoes works with the tart carambolas I had. If I had sweet carambolas I might have done something differently.

And thanks for the flavor suggestions. I've been in the neighborhoods of both, but haven't made those particular combinations. Mango chili has been on my to-do list for a while, but I want to make it mainly chili with just a bit of fruit rounding it out and probably as an ice cream, not a sorbet. Something to look forward to next mango season.

LaDivaCucina said...

I took a look at some of your other ice cream combos, very interesting! I have a crappy little ice cream maker from cuisinart that I've only used once and then gave up, it was so disgusting! I think to really make ice cream I need to invest in a maker with paddle, like you have. What about a sour kaffir-lime-leaf-tom-yom-goon sorbet?!! Do you think the chili will go with the cream? hmmm...

BTW, What else can you do with those carambolas? they are SO tart!!!

billjac said...

There are ice cream makers without paddles? How do they work?

I was thinking of using a sour cream base for the hot pepper ice cream. If sour cream can cool a hot salsa on a plate of nachos, the pairing can translate to an ice cream too.

As for the tart carambolas, think of them as like cranberries. You either have to add lots of sugar or use them sparingly as accents. I've mainly been adding them to the teapot when I brew iced tea, but I was thinking of maybe making a chutney with this latest batch.

LaDivaCucina said...

OOh, I LIKE the chutney idea! Might be good with more under-ripe tomatoes too!

Hey, what about yogurt with the chili? I'm very interested to see how this will turn out.

As for the ice cream maker, it was pretty cheap (I think about $50) and it has a super insulated bowl that you keep in the freezer...wait, there IS a paddle but it's very small and part of the "bowl." I bought it cuz it's small and I don't have much room for gadgets but like you, LOVE ZEE ICE CREAM. I am very tempted to give it another go, perhaps when the black sapote ripens.

Ok, gotta get back to the stove, I'm making three Indian dishes at once.