As I mentioned in my last post, I've been on somewhat of an ice cream bender lately... now that I've finally conquered using my ice cream machine. However, at heart, I will always be a water ice girl.
Water ice is a local phenomenon to the Philadelphia area and one of the reasons I doubt I could ever move that far away.
(If you're thinking of the Italian ice that you get in a cup and have to scrape with a spoon - that is not the water ice I'm talking about. That is actually one of my least favorite things in the world and when it grade school they would try to pass it off as water ice it was one of the most disappointing moments. Oh the things that infuriated 7 year old me.)
As I learned while traveling to Canada this summer, if you haven't ever tried water ice before, it's truly hard to explain. So I'll save my breath here and go on with my story, and hope by the end you begin to understand.
For me, when it comes to water ice, there is nothing better than Rita's.
This is the place where I spent literally almost every summer night with my family and friends, eating a water ice on the stoop and savoring every bite. I even worked at my Rita's for 3 years, and when people warned me it would ruin it for me, it did the opposite - only making me fall in love with water ice even more.
Working at Rita's however, did make me a tad more of a Rita's snob, being able to taste water ice as soon as it was freshly made and taken off the machine minutes before I would put some in a cup for myself.
Since I don't work at Rita's anymore, I haven't had this experience in a long long time. Too long.
...then, fate stepped in.
When properly frozen, this sorbet has the consistency of a sherbet and is at least somewhat firm, but right out of the ice cream maker, it was pretty much spot on to my memory of fresh water ice right out of the batch machine.
I think I actually swooned when I stuck a spoon in and tasted the results. This is by far one of the best tasting things I have come across in a long long while. Don't get me wrong, when shoved in the freezer for a few hours it was still divine, but being the water ice fiend that I am, right off the ice cream machine was the perfect way to serve this for me.
Either way, whether you're a water ice lover or not, this is definitely a recipe that is worth a try. While sweet cherries are still in season and plentiful, get it while the going is good.
And if you are one of those people that live in an area where you can't get real water ice in the summer (first of all I'm so so sorry), give this a shot and experience a bliss that's as close as you're going to get to the real thing.
Sweet Cherry Sorbet
Servings: About 1 Quart
2 lbs fresh sweet cherries (I used Bing and they were delicious)
1 cup water
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp almond extract
Stem and pit cherries. In a medium saucepan warm the cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice over medium heat until cherries begin to release juice. Cook for 10-13 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cherries are very soft. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Puree the cherries and the liquid with the almond extract in a blender or food processor until smooth. Chill in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight and the next day freezer in a ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. Eat straight from the ice cream machine or transfer to an air-tight container and store in the freezer for a few hours before serving. If storing in the freezer make sure to take out at least 5 minutes before serving to let soften slightly. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz