Fresh, sun-ripened apricots and crisp, dry rosé pair up with fragrant Thai basil in this light and refreshing Blushing Apricot Sorbet With Fresh Thai Basil… Not a dessert eater? This summery sorbet may change your mind when you taste it!
If you have followed me for any length of time, you probably know I am not a sweets eater. 🙂 That stems in part from years of self-discipline, but is also just a consequence of the fact that I really prefer savory to sweet. However, I do make exceptions. When I make exceptions, I prefer light and refreshing over rich and decadent. For Valentine’s Day, I came up with a Mulled Red Wine and Plum Sorbet – a sorbet that hints of mulled red wine. I drew the inspiration for this apricot sorbet from that recipe. Apricots represent summer to me, ever since I was a teenager in California’s Central Valley outside Fresno. Sun-ripened apricots eaten warm and dripping with juice were (in my young mind) one of the few good things about summer in the Valley! I remember those lovely apricots, weeks of 110° plus days, and slaving over 2 acres of fig trees at 6:00 in the morning trying to beat the heat… I’m sure it really wasn’t all that bad. 😉
The flavors of the peach and the apricot are not lost from generation to generation. Neither are they transmitted by book learning.
~~ Ezra Pound
Back to the sorbet… Really ripe apricots are key. The firm grocery store variety that must ripen on your counter just don’t have as much flavor. If you can’t find good ripe apricots, substitute ripe peaches or nectarines. The color won’t be as vivid, though. 🙂 Sorbets highlight the fruit, so use the best quality fruit you can find.
Why Thai basil you might ask? Thai basil is a variety of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) with a distinct anise or licorice flavor. It is sometimes referred to as anise basil or licorice basil due to both scent and taste. The subtle flavor of anise works really well with the apricots. Substitute “regular” basil if you must! 😉
Lastly, I want to explain my choice of wine for this apricot sorbet. Alcohol lowers the freezing point of the sorbet, and improves the final texture. If you’ve ever looked forward to a scoop of creamy sorbet only to discover an icy, hard product, you know how disappointing that can be. The wine cooks with the fruit, leaving behind no alcohol… It does work its magic on the texture! The choice of rosé was intentional. I wanted a crisp, fruity wine that has NO residual sweetness to compete with the fruit, and a pale enough color to allow the brilliance of the apricots to shine. A dry rosé is perfect; Crios Rosé of Malbec is lovely. Most French or Spanish style rosés will work. If you can’t find one, substitute a dry white. Don’t substitute a blush wine like white zinfandel! Yuck! The residual sweetness will definitely be too much sugar in this recipe.
If you are at all interested in creating your own sorbet recipes, I recommend reading The Science of the Best Sorbet on the Serious Eats website. As the heat of summer looms in the northern hemisphere, sorbets hold so much appeal. I hope that you will make at least one this summer!
Blushing Apricot Sorbet With Fresh Thai Basil
- 1 pound ripe apricots halved lengthwise and pitted
- 3/4 cup dry rose wine see notes
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 3- by 1-inch orange zest (removed with a vegetable peeler)
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh Thai basil chopped see notes
- Add prepared apricots, rose wine, sugar, water, orange juice, and zest, and a pinch of salt to a heavy medium saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apricots fall apart, about 25 minutes.
- Discard zest. Pour mixture into a deep mixing bowl, and allow it to cool. Purée using an immersion blender (see notes) until very smooth. Force purée through a fine-mesh sieve or strainer into a bowl, discarding any solids. Stir in fresh orange juice.
- Chill, covered, until cold, at least 2 hours. Add chopped basil.
- Freeze purée in ice cream maker, then transfer sorbet to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.
- Using an ice cream scoop, place 2 rounded scoops into each glass. Garnish with a basil sprig if desired.
A sweet wine will mess with this recipe and make it too sweet! Choose a dry unoaked white if you can't find a rose.
Thai basil has a distinct anise or licorice scent and taste that pairs beautifully with the apricots. Regular basil will do in a pinch, or even fresh mint.
If you don't have an immersion blender (you need one!), puree in a blender, but cool it first!
Peaches and nectarines will also be great in this recipe!
I sometimes stick the puree in my freezer to chill which cuts the time in half.