Cold Brew Coffee Granita

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Last June, my husband and I went to Italy to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It was an amazing trip filled with fantastic food and great memories, but one of my favorite stories to tell coming out of the trip was our experience with “iced coffee” in Rome.

Rome was the last city on our 12 day trek through Italy, and as you can imagine, Rome in June was hot. Our AirBnb hostess had mentioned a few places to us upon arrival, and one of the coffee shops she recommended was Tazza d’oro by the Pantheon. After living in Phoenix for several years, my husband will drink iced coffee all year long, so we quickly added it to our itinerary, especially as we were ready for some of the comforts of home as we neared the end of our trip. On the day we visited the Pantheon, we arrived right at its opening with plans to stop by the cafe after (they are in the same plaza). The hubs headed up to the counter and ordered our two “iced coffees”, and I wish I could explain to you the looks that we got from the staff. Nonetheless, they prepared our order, and this is what we received:

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Not what we expected… but so, so good! I suspect that we got the weird looks by ordering desserts before 9AM, but the espresso granita was delicious enough that we stopped by again later (at a more appropriate time of day) to have another.

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I’m not sure what took me so long once we got home to try to recreate this, but I’m so glad I did. I largely followed the recipe here from Smitten Kitchen, except we used cold brew coffee in place of espresso (because I had some at home). You’ll need a good 3-4 hours for the granita to be finished, but it’s a really low maintenance process. After adding the sugar, it really only needs to be scraped a few times to ensure it doesn’t freeze in once piece.

Enjoy (especially if you’re still awaiting fall weather like us where you live)!

(Printable Recipe)

Cold Brew Coffee Granita
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened cold brew coffee
6 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cold bowl and mixer attachments

Heat the coffee and 6 tablespoons of sugar in a medium pan over low-medium heat. Stir until the sugar is just dissolved. Pour into a pan (I used a 9×9 pan) and place in the freezer. After about an hour, if ice has formed, use a fork to “scrape” the ice into little pieces. Return the pan to the freezer and repeat this process every 45-60 minutes 3 to 4 more times.

About 30 minutes before serving, place your mixing bowl and mixer attachments (whisk) in the refrigerator. Immediately before serving, add the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Beat on high speed for about 1-2 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Add some of the whipped cream to the bottom of your serving dishes (this should serve 6-8 people). Top with granita. Add more whipped cream on top. Enjoy.

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Frozen Biscoff Pie

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3.14. It’s Pi Day! And yes, I am enough of a nerd to bring a pie today. You are talking to the girl who still carries around her TI-89 at work (Much to the dismay of my medical teams. I get a lot of crap for it, but how else are you suppose to use the natural log function!).  I’m only sad I wasn’t paying much attention last year (3.1415 for 3/14/15)…

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This pie. This is one of those recipes I wouldn’t really need a reason to make. A true pie, complete with pie crust, still scares me enough that it’s only something I would think to attempt for celebrations/holidays. But combine Biscoff with anything, and I’m on board. In all honesty, I’m truly making this to take to work today for our Pi Day at work, but I can tell you the hubbs begged me to make two so he could have a piece 🙂

I’ve actually made this pie a few times. It’s a recipe from Crazy for Crust, and it’s one of the easiest desserts I’ve made. Graham cracker crust, baked for a few minutes, mix just 3 ingredients together, top, and freeze. Done. You probably could start with a pre-made graham cracker crust if you wanted, although I do think adding Biscoff into the crust is a stroke of genius.

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A few tips. The crust can end up a little crumbly, so be sure to pack it into the pan. There is quite a bit of crust mixture, so I’ve found using a deep-dish pie pan works best. When mixing the filling, be sure to have the ingredients ready to go as it is easier to work quick. Also, be careful spreading out the filling as not to disturb the crust. It is pliable enough it would probably spread out into the pie on its own if you left it. Lastly, the extra whipped topping will spread further if you chill the filling a bit before adding it. I did not in the pies above, so I just have a little smaller circle.

Ahh… frozen desserts. Now that it’s light longer, I promise summer is coming! Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Frozen Biscoff Pie
From Crazy for Crust

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
2 oz. white chocolate
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Biscoff
2 cups graham cracker crumbs

For the Filling:
1/2 cup Biscoff
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. whipped topping, divided

For the Topping Swirl:
1 oz. white chocolate
1 Tbsp. Biscoff

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in the microwave. Then add the white chocolate and Biscoff, stirring ever 15 seconds, until melted and well blended. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Press into a 9″ pie pan. Bake for 8 minutes and cool completely before filling.

Place 1/2 cup Biscoff in a microwave-safe bowl. Have ingredients measured and ready to go. Heat for 20 seconds to allow it to soften.Reserve 1/2 cup whipped topping. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Fold the remaining whipped topping into the Biscoff-sweetened condensed milk mixture. If it doesn’t seem to be mixing well, you can use a hand mixer here. Pour into the prepared crust. Top with reserved whipped topping. It may not reach all the way to the edges. Chill the pie first if you’d like it to cover more area.

Melt white chocolate and Biscoff together in a small microwave-safe bowl. Pour into a sealable sandwich bag and snip one corner. Pipe as desired on the top of the pie. Freeze pie for at least 4 hours or for overnight before slicing.

Malted Milk Ice Cream

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Whoppers… I have loved them since I was really little. I can remember Dad buying one of those milk boxes of whoppers and hiding them from us on top of the fridge. It is pretty hard to distract your parents long enough to manage climb up on the kitchen counter!!

Malted milk balls are always on my mind this time of year thanks to the malted Easter eggs. It should serve as no surprise that they are one of my favorite types of candy. I’ve even put them in cookies

All of that leads me to this ice cream. I first spotted it last summer in David Lebovitz’s cookbook, The Perfect Scoop, but had gotten lost in my recipe files until I saw it again on Tracy’s blog this fall. Malted milk powder AND crushed whoppers. I was in. By the way, I’ve made several recipes from this book, and if you are looking for a great ice cream book, this is your ticket.

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So how was it? Indescribable. Forget the pieces of whoppers, this is the creamiest ice cream I have ever had anywhere, all from the malt powder. I am not kidding when I tell you that we went out to buy more ingredients the night we finished the first batch because we had to have more. So, if you happen to find yourself with some extra malted chocolate candy this season, I think I know what to do with it. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Malted Milk Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup malt powder
1 cup of half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
1 cup malted milk balls or malted chocolate eggs, roughly chopped

Whisk the heavy cream, vanilla, and malt powder in a large heatproof bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl. Combine the half-and-half, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat just until slightly warm and the sugar dissolves.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Slowly add the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan and heat until a thermometer reads 170-175 and you notice the mixture starts to coat your utensil. Pour through the strainer to remove any pieces of cooked eggs that may have formed. Stir to combine.

Cover and refrigerate the mixture overnight. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to package directions. While freezing, roughly chop or crush the malt balls. Swirl in after the ice cream has finished freezing (or at soft-serve stage). Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until set. 

Club: Baked – Mississippi Mud Pie

One of my new goals for myself this year: bake with my groups more often! I really don’t know why I don’t do it more often as it seems more often than not the recipes we make are amazingly delicious. This one being no exception…

This time around, our Club:Baked recipe is hosted by Jess at The Saucy Kitchen. Her choice: Mississippi Mud Pie. I feel like I say this a lot, but without this group, I never would have given this pie a chance. Me. Dark chocolate and coffee? Na… give me some caramel and milk chocolate, and I’m a happy girl 🙂

Nonetheless, both my husband and I found ourselves really enjoying this pie. I made a half version in a little 5-inch pie tin since it was just the 2 of us, and everything seemed to come together really well. There are a lot of steps in this recipe, but most of it is melt, freeze, repeat. I am thinking that this pie could be the perfect solution for when I need a dessert in the middle of the summer. The no-bake factor certainly wins points in the Phoenix summers category. A couple people mentioned on the message board that they had trouble finding chocolate wafers. I have some leftover chocolate animal crackers from when my brother made this cheesecake, and they seemed to work just fine here.

Stop by the Club: Baked page today to check out the pies from the other bloggers, and be sure to stop by Jess’s blog for hosting! Enjoy!

Lighter Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I officially started my residency this week, so I am now a working woman. So far, it’s been a lot of orientation type tasks, but I am excited to finally be starting! I know the pace of things will pick up quite a bit over the next few weeks, but I plan to continue cooking. If nothing else, I have quite the stockpile of recipes saved to share with you!

Ice Cream. While many enjoy it year around, in my mind, it is synonymous with warmer temperatures. As a kiddo I remember root beer floats, “blizzards” from the local ice cream shop that was only open in the summer, and sundaes drenched with caramel. I have always had a soft spot for caramel, so when I saw this recipe, I was immediately interested. If caramel is good on top of ice cream, it has to be good frozen into it. 

Well, I was right. This ice cream is awesome! I didn’t add the salt on top of each serving, but the salt included in the ice cream gives it a sweet-salty combination that is awesome. If you’ve ever had a salted caramel, it’s in that league. It is a little bit more complicated than most ice cream recipes because you need to make a caramel, but it is worth it. Plus, there is a bonus in that this recipe is a little lighter than most. With only 1/4 cup of heavy cream, it uses mostly 2% milk. While it is certainly still considered a treat, you can feel a little bit better about enjoying that (larger) scoop. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Lighter Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Adapted from Cooking Light May 2010

Ingredients:
3-1/2 cups 2% milk
3 large egg yolks
1-1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. flake salt (optional)

Place milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat to 180 degrees (check temperature with a candy thermometer) or until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Do not boil. Meanwhile, place egg yolks in a large bowl and stir with a whisk. Once the milk reaches the correct temperature, gradually add half of the hot milk to the yolks, stirring constantly to temper. Add the rest of the milk mixture and stir to combine. Return the milk-yolk mixture to the saucepan.

In a separate large saucepan, combine sugar, cream, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts. Cook 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the Kosher salt. Gradually and carefully add the caramel mixture to the yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return pan to low heat and cook until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Pour the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl set over a larger ice-filled bowl until completely cooled, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate overnight.

Pour the mixture into the freezer bucket of an ice-cream freezer. Freeze according to package directions. The ice cream will emerge in soft-serve consistency. Freeze in a resealable container for a firmer consistency or for storage of any leftovers. To serve, sprinkle each serving with flake salt if desired.

I am linking this to Sweets for Saturday.


Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream

I mentioned this ice cream in my last post about the pralines but didn’t share the recipe. With the temperatures being reported as north of 100 degrees this weekend, I thought it may be time to share 🙂 

The recipe can be found in The Sweet Melissa Baking book. Ice cream is a treat that never hangs around long at our house in any form, but this one disappears especially fast. It is hands down the best vanilla ice cream I have ever had, bought, or made, and it will be the only vanilla ice cream recipe that I use from now on. Those are some big claims. Naming anything the “best” is always a little bit dangerous, but if you like ice cream, I promise you’ll enjoy this one! My husband, the ice cream connoisseur, says that this may be his favorite ice cream ever. That’s saying quite a bit!

The line up of ingredients in this recipe is a little different from most ice creams in that it includes skim milk and dry skim milk powder. Melissa claims that the dry milk absorbs any extra water in the milk and heavy cream thus keeping the ice cream extra creamy. While the milk powder is an ingredient that many people may not keep in their pantry, I promise you’ll use it. Make these cookies. And THIS ice cream. Serve them together (ooh, now that’s an idea). I’ve made this both with the vanilla bean and with doubling the vanilla extract when I didn’t have a vanilla bean, and it’s great both ways. 

You get the picture. Make some ice cream and enjoy it!

(Printable Recipe)

Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream
From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dry skim milk powder
5 large egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, reserving the seeds and pod
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Set a large bowl over the top, and check that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water (This is a double broiler set up. If you have a double broiler pan, you could use that too). Remove the bowl and use it to combine the ingredients for the ice cream.

In the large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, brown sugar, salt, skim milk powder, egg yolks, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and vanilla until completely combined. Place the bowl on top of the simmering pot. Be sure the water is simmering and not boiling. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened until nappante (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon), or until the mixture reaches approximately 180-185 degrees F on a candy thermometer. 

Cool the custard in an ice bath (larger bowl filled with ice). Strain the mixture into a resealable container. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

After chilling, pour into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. The ice cream will emerge soft-serve consistency. Eat immediately if you prefer or transfer to a resealable container and freeze for at least 4 hours for harder consistency ice cream. 

I am linking this to Sweet Tooth Fridays, Sweets for Saturdays, and Eat at Home Frozen Treats.


SMS: Peanut Praline Sundaes

We’re nearing the end of the Sweet Melissa Baking Book. We only have 6 more recipes left with plans to finish up by the end of August. This week’s recipe was peanut praline hosted by Ruby of I Dream of Baking. The group has made Melissa’s brittle a couple of times now, but this was my first time along. The peanut praline in the book is basically the peanut brittle crumbled up and served over ice cream. I have never made brittle before from any recipe, so I thought it may serve me well to go back and read the posts from the other recipes. Thank goodness I did! It seems like many had problems with the recipe in the book – chewy and burned were many of the comments. Neither of these are good things for a brittle. 

I still wanted to participate, so I decided to look through the recipes that a couple of the ladies in the group had posted. It seems that the Sweet Melissa recipe has a lot more butter and no water compared to the other recipes? In the end, I choose to go with Margot’s version that she posted here on her blog in October. The brittle came out just the way a peanut brittle should be without any trouble. I didn’t measure my peanuts and think I may have added a few too many (user error on that one). The inclusion of the cayenne pepper gives the candy a bit of a kick as an aftertaste, and while some may prefer the sweet-spicy combo, I think I would leave it out next time. 

In her post, Margot added her brittle to ice cream. I had planned to make the brown-sugar vanilla ice cream in the Sweet Melissa book to pair with the peanut praline and thought about copying her idea. In the end, my husband talked me out of mixing it in because the ice cream is SO GOOD plain. This is the second time that we have made it, and I will never make another vanilla ice cream recipe. We served the ice cream and praline with caramel syrup (I like caramel much better than chocolate), and it was awesome! Definitely one to keep in mind for a “fancier” ice cream treat. Thanks Ruby for a great pick and for a recipe I may have never attempted on my own! Check out Ruby’s attempt and the other bloggers on the SMS blogroll page!

Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream

Last but not least, my final strawberry recipe for a little while around here! While this is the last strawberry recipe that I’m posting, I have to admit that strawberry ice cream is one of the first things I thought of when deciding how to use my strawberries. In looking for a recipe, I knew that I wanted to find one that included pureed strawberries rather than chopped strawberries added as a mix-in. We’ve tried the chopped strawberry version before, and neither of us like how the fruit turns into hard ice-nuggets once frozen.

This recipe is another from David Lebovitz’s, The Perfect Scoop, but I had saved it since last summer from Annie’s Eats. It is different from many other ice cream recipes in that it includes sour cream in place of some of the milk and heavy cream. While Annie noted that she couldn’t taste the sour cream in the final ice cream, I noticed a little bit of tang in mine but loved the flavor that it added. A definite benefit of the sour cream was the texture of the ice cream. This is one of the creamiest versions I’ve made yet. 

As for our overall opinions, we are a little split. I really enjoyed it. My husband thought it was good but noted that he liked many of my other ice cream versions better. I think his exact phrase was, “The berry flavor is just too much.” At least around here, I’ve noticed that strawberry ice cream is one of those foods that you either love or hate, and while he ate it, I think my husband may fall into the later group. If you’re a strawberry ice cream fan, too much berry flavor shouldn’t be a problem 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream
From David Lebovitz’s, The Perfect Scoop

Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vodka (optional)
1 cup full-fat sour cream  
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl with the sugar and vodka. Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and add the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice. Pulse briefly until almost smooth but still slightly chunky. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (I always chill overnight). Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

White Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream

Since Easter is now behind us, I have decided to fully shift my attention to “warmer weather” recipes. With that idea in mind, I’m finishing up my string of strawberry posts with two different versions of strawberry ice cream. I don’t think the fact that temperatures have been hanging around 90 for most of the last week has anything to do with it 🙂 I am actually not complaining. I love it!

To be completely honest, I this is one of the first ice creams I made earlier in March before our surplus of berries. Nevertheless, it still ranks as one of my husband’s favorite ice cream recipes, and it fits right in with the strawberry theme. The recipe for the base ice cream is adapted from David Lebovitz’s, A Perfect Scoop, but I ran across the strawberry version here on Gimme Some Oven. In the book, David recommends either topping the ice cream (without the strawberries) with candied cherries or adding them as a mix-in. To me, the cherry idea also sounds awesome, but I also think it would be great with a swirled raspberry ribbon. I will share it if we end up making one of the variations.

As I said earlier, this is my husband’s favorite ice cream that I’ve made to date. I changed up the ratio of milk to cream from the base recipe using 2 cups of whole milk to 1 cup of cream because I was trying to use up some milk that was getting close to it’s date, and I thought that it ended up being plenty creamy in the end. One thing I would change in the future is my choice of white chocolate. I have always heard that using chips instead of bar chocolate in recipes that call for it to be melted can result in a “chalky” texture. I have never noticed this before but could definitely tell in this ice cream. Next time, I will be sure to use bar chocolate instead of white chips. My other change would be the strawberries. I wasn’t crazy about the chunks of strawberries included in the ice cream because they end up as little frozen chunks after it has set in the freezer for awhile and you lose the flavor they would add. I think they would be great instead as a topping, and I would include them this way in the future. I’ll include the recipe as we made it below (but written for bar chocolate), and you can adapt the strawberries as you please. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

White Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop and Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients:
8 oz white chocolate (finely chopped)
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups strawberries, finely diced

Put the pieces of chocolate in a bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, the scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.  

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as  you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the white chocolate. Stir until white chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then stir in the cream and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath. 

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (I usually leave it in overnight), then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add the strawberries about 5 minutes before the ice cream cycle is completed.

Strawberry Sorbet

Have you ever wondered what type of a reaction you would get by calling your husband asking if he would stop to pick up a bottle of vodka on his way home from work? Not that I would know, but he may respond by asking if everything is okay. No, it wasn’t the fact that I had a really bad day. I was wanting to make this sorbet with my new batch of strawberries but couldn’t run to the store myself because I was already elbow deep preparing dinner.

The chemist in me finds the purpose of adding alcohols such as vodka to different recipes interesting. See, alcohol has both a lower boiling and freezing point than water. When you use it for this pie crust, it evaporates earlier than water would in the oven leaving you with more dry ingredients which creates a flaky crust. It has the opposite effect in cold recipes. Since it freezes at a lower temperature than water, it keeps this sorbet from getting too hard in your freezer. See, chemistry can be fun and delicious =) Vodka or no vodka, this sorbet is delicious! While the vodka serves the purpose of helping keep the sorbet soft, it is an optional ingredient if it is a concerning ingredient for you. Unlike my pie crust above, it will not “cook out” of the recipe since the sorbet mixture is never heated. If you leave it out, you will just want to plan ahead and set the sorbet container out at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. 

Enough about the texture. How did it taste? Absolutely delicious! We made quite a few recipes with those strawberries, and this sorbet is one of my favorites. It was the perfect way to showcase the flavor of the fresh berries and has me searching for other recipes using different fruits. One thing I noticed in searching for a recipe was the large variation in sugar content.  I found recipes varying from 1/4 to 1 cup of sugar for 1 pound of strawberries. I ended up using about 1/3 per pound of berries for our sorbet, and it was plenty sweet for the batch of berries that I had. My other change – lime juice instead of lemon juice. Strawberry-lime is a classic combination. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Strawberry Sorbet
Adapted from Group Recipes

Ingredients:
2 lbs. strawberries
1 cup cold water
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. vodka (optional)
pinch of salt

Puree the strawberries and cold water in a blender until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds if you want a smooth sorbet (I did this roughly to remove most of the seeds but not all). Stir in the remaining ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Place in a resealable container and refrigerate until cool or overnight.

When ready to freeze, pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to package directions. Serve immediately or transfer to a resealable container and freeze until ready to use. If desired, remove the sorbet from the freezer for a few minutes before serving to allow it to soften. 

Yield: My 1 qt ice cream freezer was not full. Maybe 6-8 servings

I am linking this to Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for Saturday, and Melt in Your Mouth Monday.

Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms