Sunday, April 26, 2015

26 Apr 15 (Sun) - Chrysanthemum Sorbet with Red Date Bits

Had a couple of chat sessions with a friend and it prompted me to think very hard about my dream of owning a small dessert stall or shop. My initial thought was I'm contented to do any kind of desserts , be it baked or non-baked, Western or Asian, as long as they are desserts. The conversations helped to narrow down to more feasible options, ice cream or similar.

Well... I have done Philadelphia-style ice cream without any machine a few times, making conventional flavours such as chocolate chips and strawberry as well as unconventional ones such as red dragon fruit and pumpkin walnut. The results were not too bad. I have been brain-storming in interesting flavours for sometime but did not have the time to try. After the last session, I started researching on sorbet and sherbet. Came across this recipe by Honest Fare on chamomile sorbet and decided to modify it to try.

Instead of using chamomile, I substituted it with chrysanthemum and added some red dates. Instead of using cane sugar, I used caramel sugar and added white sugar. The recipe uses "cup" measurements but I converted it to metric measurements on my own using my measuring cup. Did it without any machine and hand-churn it every two hours for a few times before freezing it overnight.

                             Chrysanthemum buds

Caramel Sugar

110g caramel sugar
110g white sugar
1 litre water
15g chrysanthemum buds
2 tbsp honey
4 red dates

1.  Bring water to boil in a large pot
2.  Remove from heat, add sugar, chrysanthemum buds, red dates and honey
3.  Stir to dissolve all sugar and for buds to open up
4.  Let the mixture stand in the pot till room temperature
5.  Once cool, strain the mixture and set the red dates aside
6.  Pour the liquid into a container of your choice and put into freezer
7.  Dice the red dates into small pieces and keep in the fridge
6.  Remove the liquid from the freezer after 2 hours to churn with a fork
7.  Repeat step (6) for another 3-4 times
8.  Add in the diced red dates, churn one last time before freezing the mixture overnight

---------------- Edited on 27 Apr 2015 ----------------

Brought a tub to office for my colleagues to try and two of them came back with comments. My honest food critic, CC, told me that the texture was more of shaved ice than sorbet, was a bit too sweet but the chrysanthemum flavour was strong enough, plus the red date bits was a nice touch. The other colleague, NYP, commented that it was sweet and refreshing. When I probed further, she said it was a bit too sweet.

I started to review what I have done wrong and concluded that I should have either stick to cane sugar or reduce the amount of sugar if I intend to use caramel sugar and add white sugar. As for the icy part, I could not figure out why until I looked at my one and only pomegranate sorbet recipe after I got home. Instead of churning it every two hours, I should have churned it every 45 minutes so as to break down the ice crystals before they get too big. Oh well, at least now I know where the mistakes are and make sure I won't repeat them again.

Did a bit of researching and found an article on "What's the Difference Between Sorbet and Sherbet?". In the article, it says that "Granita starts with the same base as sorbet, but instead of churning it in an ice cream maker, the base is just poured into a pan and placed in the freezer. The surface is scraped multiple times as it freezes, creating icy flakes that are coarse and more crystalline in texture than sorbet." Hrm... maybe I should rename my blog post title from sorbet to granita instead. Hehe...

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