A light, fruity frozen treat with just a hint of exotic rose water. Rose Water and Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet gets its tang and body from buttermilk… A perfectly lovely chilly dessert on a hot summer’s day!
Buttermilk biscuits and pancakes, buttermilk ranch dressing, buttermilk as part of the breading process… Can you think of any to add to this list of uses for tangy buttermilk? I once made a delicious chess pie with a generous amount of buttermilk providing the foundation for the filling. Yum. However, I had not had buttermilk in a frozen dessert until I tried a spoonful of lemon buttermilk ice cream in Charleston in April. Mmmm. It was so good. Of course buttermilk is naturally tangy and creamy, and paired perfectly with the lemon. Given my propensity to chase after “new and creative” rather than “tried and true,” I came up with my own frozen dessert using buttermilk as a base.
If you’re like me, you find the names of different frozen desserts a bit confusing… Sorbet is easy – no dairy whatsoever. Frozen yogurt? Well, it’s made with – yogurt! Then we get to gelato, sherbet, ice cream, and frozen custard, and things get a little murky. Sherbet does contain dairy, but is only 1-2% fat. Gelato is a very rich, dairy-based confection with 4-8% butter fat, and less air is incorporated into the mix, resulting in a very dense end product. It’s totally decadent, and one I rarely indulge in. DISCIPLINE. Haha. Frozen custard (my mother always made custard!) is made extra rich with the incorporation of cooked eggs, and has a dense, creamy texture. Ice cream contains 10-16% butter fat. Its high fat content and the amount of air whipped into it, give it exceptional creaminess.
So, now that we cleared that all up, why did I go with a sherbet? As I mentioned, I loved the combination of lemon and buttermilk at the ice cream shop in Charleston. It seemed likely that fresh strawberries would be similar. Always looking for a creative “twist,” I decided to play with rose water (always in my well-stocked pantry). The rose water adds a subtle layer of complexity to the sherbet. If you can’t find it, or can’t be bothered with it, by all means omit it! You will still have a lovely sherbet. I promise.
Introducing: Rose Water
Rose water is made by steeping rose petals in water. I don’t make my own. 🙄 I have fabulous international foods sources available to me in the Rio Grande Valley, and commercial rose water is easy to come by. Rose water is used heavily in Persian and Middle Eastern cooking. You’ll find small amounts of it in tea, cookies, dairy-based custards and ice creams, marzipan, etc. If you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons, rose water is a fun ingredient to play with. Just remember it’s a lovely subtle ingredient, not meant to hit you in the nose, and assault your tongue! I hope you’ll give it a try in my Rose Water and Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet…
Lastly, in keeping with the Persian-ish flavor notes of this recipe, I decided to garnish with toasted pistachios and slivered fresh mint leaves. It’s as tasty as it is pretty!
Recommended Kitchen and Pantry Items:
- Ice Cream Freezer – This one doesn’t require a chunk of real estate in your freezer for 24 hours prior to using!
- Ice Cream Scoop – Cuts through rock hard homemade ice cream!
- Glide-A-Scoop Ice Cream Storage Container – A perfect freezer container for your fabulous creations. 😆
- Rose Water Combo Pack – Two awesome pantry items (IMHO).
- Pistachios – Roasted and shelled – so you don’t have to!
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Rose Water and Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet
A light, fruity frozen treat with just a hint of exotic rose water. Rose Water and Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet gets its tang and body from buttermilk... A perfectly lovely chilly dessert on a hot summer's day!
- 32 ounces fresh strawberries trimmed and quartered
- 2 1/2 cups buttermilk (I use lowfat)
- 1/2 cup light, neutral agave nectar
- 1/3 cup rose water (optional)
- 1/4 cup white wine (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup toasted pistachios to garnish
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves chiffonade (roll & slice thin)
Puree all sherbet ingredients together until smooth. Refrigerate or freeze until very cold. If you put it into the freezer to chill, don't forget about it! My ice cream freezer does a better job if I start out with a really cold mix.
Pour into ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
Either garnish and serve immediately, or scoop into an air-tight container and freeze until ready to serve.
Rose water is typically a subtle flavor in a recipe. I love the complexity and nuance it adds, but the recipe is great without it.
I add a bit of alcohol to all of my frozen desserts as it lowers the melting point, and makes it more scoopable. In this recipe, it doesn't add much in the way of flavor, and is totally optional.
I received a bottle of Rose and Hibiscus Flower Extract at the Mediavine Bloggers Conference in April. I love it! I put a few drops on my scoops mostly for visual impact. Again, this is optional.