Sometimes, life is just a bowl of cherries.
Sometimes, it’s just the pits!
And, when it’s the pits, one thing that always makes me feel so much better is some cool, refreshing, fruity cherry sorbetto.
When I was a little girl in New York, one of the best parts of summer was when the Italian bakeries up and down Morris Park threw open their storefront windows and set up their Italian ice stands. It was special because the bakers only served up these frosty sweet treats during the few months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The Italian ices that I grew up with were nothing like the icy, crunchy snow cones that you might be thinking of. Nor did they have the slightly finer, but still crystalline texture of a granita. Instead, they were soft, silky smooth and bursting with fresh fruit flavor. Slurping one down after a hot, gritty day of running around with my amiche was pure bliss!
Back then, an Italian ice served in a white paper pastry cup would set you back around twenty-five cents. I don’t know what they cost now, but it doesn’t really matter because they’re nonexistent down here in my neck of the woods. You can find a packaged product that purports to be Italian ice in the ice cream freezer at most supermarkets, but trust me – it’s not the same thing.
After the grueling week I had here in SGCC-Land, I decided that I deserved a little treat. Since we’re in the throes of cherry season, my market has an abundant supply of deep, dark, plump and juicy Bing cherries. I adore fresh cherries! Whenever I buy some, I always tell myself that I’m going to make something fabulous with them. Unfortunately, most of the time they don’t last long enough. This time, however, I was determined to recreate one of the simple pleasures of my youth and made this Bing Cherry Sorbetto.
In my opinion, making a sorbetto is much easier than making ice cream. A simple syrup of water and sugar, some lemon or lime juice and maybe a splash of liqueur are added to pureed fruit, chilled and then churned in an ice cream maker. If you want your sorbetto to be super smooth, you can strain it through a sieve, but if you don’t mind a few small chunks of fruit, it isn’t necessary. However, in order to get the proper texture, you really should use an ice cream machine.
The most tedious part of making this sorbetto is pitting the cherries. Although, if you have a handy, dandy cherry pitter like this one, it’s actually kind of fun. That is Mr. SGCC’s hand demonstrating the cherry pitter. My hand is much more dainty and delicate. Plus, I don’t have hairy knuckles. Just sayin’
Have you ever tried to take photos with a wild and crazy, teething puppy under foot? It isn’t easy! Bella’s idea of “helping” is running around through the legs of my tripod and biting it to bits. Of course, she tries to bite everything to bits these days. I’ve already had one camera casualty thanks to her. Luckily, it wasn’t my DSLR. If she wasn’t so cute, she’d be in big trouble!
By the way, sorbetto is the Italian name for sorbet. It’s purely semantics. You can call it whichever you like. I’m calling it delicious.
Bing Cherry Sorbetto
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 pounds fresh Bing cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kirshwasser or cherry brandy (optional)
Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until until all sugar has dissolved and the liquid is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Whizz the cherries in a blender or food processor until well pureed. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the cooled simple syrup, the lemon juice and the kirshwasser, if using. If you like it sweeter, add more syrup. If you like it more tart, add more lemon juice. Chill for several hours or overnight.
Transfer the cherry mixture to the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When done, place in a freezer safe container and freeze until the sorbet has reached the desired consistency.