Saturday, August 08, 2009

Lovely Rita

In my devotion to Rita's Water Ice and keen interest in making homemade ice creams and sorbets, I've always wished I could find a way to make a frozen dessert that had the vibrant fruit flavor and perfectly slushy texture of Rita's at home. I never had much success. Until now.

I'd torn a recipe for Watermelon Sorbet from Patricia Wells out of Runner's World earlier this summer, impressed by its simplicity. All you needed to make it was watermelon, simple syrup and lemon or lime juice. Wells said you didn't even need to an ice cream maker. I knew that with such a straightforward ingredient list, and watermelons being so tasty right now, that the sorbet would be good. I just didn't know it would taste just like Rita's.

The freezers at a typical Rita's store keep the water ice at the perfect firmness, between frozen and slushy. This watermelon sorbet somehow manages to achieve that same consistency, both fresh out of the ice cream maker and after having been in the freezer for a day. Maybe the simple syrup lends it a cohesiveness, rather than icing up into a frozen mass like sugar would. Or maybe it's the watermelon, the texture of which is kind of fibrous compared to other fruits. Whatever it is, it's delicious.--S

Watermelon Sorbet

Cube eight to 10 cups of watermelon (discard seeds). Puree in a blender until you have four cups. Mix with two tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice and one cup simple syrup (boil equal parts water and sugar until sugar dissolves; then let syrup cool). Chill in an ice-cream maker, or leave in your freezer until slushy.

Recipe courtesy of Runner's World

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