If you have an ice cream machine, fruit sorbets make an easy and excellent dessert. For the adults, they are definitely taken to another level when served with a bit of fruit brandy.
This batch of nectarine sorbet began with a quest to find good uses for the 20 odd pounds of peaches and nectarines we picked over the last weekend at Hanover Peach’s orchard in Mechanicsville. The nectarines seemed the most ripe tonight, so I turned a peach sorbet recipe in the New York Times into a nectarine sorbet.
2 lbs. ripe nectarines (about 4 large)
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Peach or other fruit brandy for serving (optional, but excellent)
Put the 3 Tbs. of lemon juice in a medium bowl. Set out a 2 quart soufflé dish for the nectarine skins and pits.
Boil water in a saucepan big enough to cover the largest of the nectarines. Cut lightly the skin of the nectarines to make them easier to peal. Dunk the nectarines one by one into the hot water, rolling them around to expose all surfaces to the hot water. Peel and pit the nectarines, putting the peel and pits into the soufflé dish, and tearing the nectarine flesh into large chunks and putting them into the bowl with the lemon juice. Mix the nectarines with the lemon juice to coat them. Repeat for the rest of the nectarines.
Add the sugar and water to the soufflé dish with the skins and pits. Stir. Put in a microwave, and cook at the high setting for 3 minutes uncovered. Stir again to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Cover the dish and microwave for 6 minutes. Remove from the microwave, and strain the syrup from the skins and pits, which can be discarded. Cool the syrup.
Put the nectarines and lemon juice into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Cool the nectarine puree. When the syrup is also cool, combine the puree and syrup, stirring well. Freeze according to the instructions on your ice cream maker.
For adults, add 1-2 Tbs. of fruit brandy to each personal serving bowl and serve immediately. While peach brandy is the obvious choice, most fruit brandies would combine well with the sorbet. Orange liqueurs like Cointreau and Grand Marnier are also good.