Cool stuff for hot weather
This hot weather has me looking for cool things–ways to beat the heat. Cucumber is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of cool, refreshing things–with tomatoes in salad, or with mangos. But thinking really cold, I started skulking through my old recipes for a dimly remembered recipe for cucumber sorbet with eucalyptus honey.
Eucalyptus honey is fairly dark, with an assertive earthy, spicy flavor with a slightly cool overtone like mild menthol. For some it might be called medicinal, but I found it an interesting combination, with the cool cucumber plus the extra little kick of coolness from the eucalyptus honey. (If you don’t have eucalyptus honey, this sorbet will still be tasty.)
Problem–someone (no names here) didn’t write down the quantities or the source of this recipe–or maybe it was an off-the-cuff invention with whatever was around at the time that obviously included eucalyptus honey.
So, some research. Going to The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (one of my two favorite sources on frozen dessert stuff), and Jenis Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer (my other ice cream favorite) I found what I needed to fill in the missing quantities for the sorbet.
Cucumber and Eucalyptus Honey Sorbet
- 2 English or Japanese cucumbers–about 2 pounds–coarsely chopped
- 5 ounces eucalyptus* honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of salt
Preparation and notes
- I prefer the English or Japanese cucumbers because you don’t need to remove seeds. This would take about 2 cucumbers. Peeling is not necessary. If you have slicing cucumbers, remove seeds.
- Combine honey and water; heating is not necessary.
- Combine ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Pour into prepared ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions
- To make without an ice cream maker, use the method for granitas: pour into a shallow baking dish and place in the freezer. Stir with a fork about every 30 minutes until firm. (This breaks up ice crystals although the texture will not be as fine as with an ice cream maker–but still tasty.)
*A note on honey: Eucalyptus honey is a varietal honey; made from the nectar that bees collect from flowering eucalyptus trees. It is not an “infused” or “flavored” honey–those are made by adding flavoring to wildflower honey. I found the eucalyptus honey in my local Harris Teeter grocery store, next to the orange blossom and wildflower honey.
Some other interesting recipes that I found whilst trolling the internet:
- Cucumber mint sorbet
- Cucumber, lime, and basil sorbet
- Cucumber, honeydew, & cayenne frozen yogurt (p. 78-79) from Jenis Splendid Ice Creams at Home)
- Cucumber Anise Granita