Monday, August 1, 2011

Licorice Tea Sorbet

With the wacky weather being late bringing summer to this neck of the woods and going to three digits, I look for refreshing food to gnosh, "a little something" to "tide me over". Oh gosh, the cliches again. How much of our lives mirror the cliches of old women and Jews? I can spot an old wive's tale from a fart away. A bruha doesn't share his words, while the circle of grannies cluck away over the clicking sounds of knitting needles. Cluck or cauldron, take your pick, they seem to possess the ancient wisdoms, from glass cleaners and floor wax to rashes and remedies and female concerns.
I have learned that a fresh cut on the finger can be sealed and healed by wrapping a spider web around it. And many skin problems, including skin cancer, can be dealt with by using a black shea salve. I have the recipe for the salve and will be mixing up a batch to try on myself. And I will let you know how that works out. No, I don't have cancer. I'm one of the few who don't have it. I have skin lesions which the doc says are pre-cancerous.
Mr. P and I have been using a black shea soap, and a goat's milk soap that I make, and we are both elated to finally have a soap that doesn't leave a film and cause itching. It contains no detergents, chemicals or fragrances, and it lathers beautifully. More and more people are developing allergies to fragrances, and the itching from their bath soaps and handbars. For those of us with sensitive skin, almost all commercial soaps have detergents, chemical additives and fragrances that give us itches and rashes, and they smell like the "make a memory" of aromatherapy. Cheap men's cologne comes to mind, like rotten road apples. Mine don't smell and the stuff leaves us "squeaky clean" as They Who Say used to say.

Mr. P hates licorice. But he did like the licorice macarons with chocolate ganache filling that I made for a Christmas reception at the gallery, last year. And even the reception attendees who didn't like licorice enjoyed the macarons. So, I figured it a safe bet to experiment with licorice again when the idea popped into my head to try my detox tea as a sorbet. After all, sorbet is wonderfully refreshing and none too filling. But licorice? Why not! As like aromatherapy, taste memory is an interesting thing. I associate licorice with wealthy older gentlemen wearing soft leather Italian loafers and grey silk Italian suits with tobacco green shirts,...oh my, I have just described my Dutch grandfather. He was a gorgeous man with white hair, lizard eyes of cold, translucent blue, and had a thick accent that was music to my ears. He passed away in 1961. Not a day has gone by without thinking about him and missing him. I did adore my grandpa.
The first try with this sorbet came out strong and too sweet. Mr. P said it tasted exactly like Good n'Plenty candy. He liked it! I like sweet, but not icky-sweet. So, in this next batch I reduced the sugar and used only 6 tea bags. Next time, I will use 7 bags. Upon opening the container after removing it from the freezer, I could definitely smell the licorice. And yet, the flavor wasn't overpowering.
Note that this recipe uses Every Day Detox tea by Traditional Medicinals. I use that by necessity. But, a detox sorbet? How cool is that! If you like, you can use plain ol' licorice tea. Or you can purchase roots and twig crushings by the pound (or less) at a health food store. Using a coffee bean grinder or mortar and pestle, you really don't want to make a powder, so just give it a couple of pulses to make the pieces small and to wake up the flavor. Cheesecloth will work just fine as a "bag". Use 1 Tbsp. of it per "bag". Frankly, I like the convenience of already-made tea bags. Consider that you will be using 3 1/2 cups of water, and since you will be freezing the tea, you'll want it strong.

Pink Elephants coffee Cafe

Yield: About 1 quart

3 1/2 cups water
7 tea bags, Every Day Detox by Traditional Medicinals (plain licorice tea will suffice)
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. pure anise extract
1 Tbsp. kirchwasser (optional)

*If tea bags have strings, tie them all onto one string. In a non-reactive saucepot, bring the water to a full boil. Place tea bags in the boiling water, cover with lid and remove from heat. Let steep for at least 4 hours.
*Remove tea bags, gently squeezing any excess out back into the pot. Discard spent bags.
Add sugar to the tea and stir on low heat until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat. Let cool completely.
*Add lemon juice and anise extract and stir to incorporate. In a covered container place sorbet mixture in refrigerator overnight. Remember to place the container for the ice cream maker in the freezer. It's best to chill the container for 24 hours, although I have found that 15 hours will suffice.
*Remove from fridge. If using, add kirschwasser or other flavorless alcohol, to help keep the sorbet from freezing too hard and becoming unscoopable. The sugar will take care of that, mostly, but I have found that adding the kirschwasser helps with that. It's a little tip from David Lebovitz.
*Pour into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Pour into freezer-safe lidded plastic container for at least 4 hours. Overnite is better, but 4 hours will do.
*Approximately 40 minutes before serving, remove from freezer and let soften, lid off.

Listen up: As stated on the box of detox tea, don't drink it or eat it if you have gallstones.

1 comment:

  1. Anything sorbet sounds refreshing to me since I'm in the deep South and our summers are horrid. This is such an interesting twist. Thank you for this very creative post!