Spiced Strawberry Sorbet

It’s summer time–I know that you don’t want to hear me complain about heat and humidity, so I won’t.  There are some things that are good about it–and one of them is strawberry season.  I’ve enjoyed some of the local ones that I’ve gotten at Harris Teeter (so happy to see them carrying local produce). When strawberries are perfectly ripe I just want to eat them completely unadorned. But the hot weather makes me think about cool things like sorbet, ices, and ice cream.

bowl of washed strawberriesHere’s a recipe that I’ve had for literally years.  It’s so good that I wanted to share it with you as one more way to enjoy the season’s strawberries. (Thanks to Google, I can tell you that I got this recipe from Epicurious.com). Just as in making the sour cream strawberry ice cream, you don’t want berries that are just “okay” or “fine for ice cream”, you want them to be absolutely luscious–the kind where they are so fragrant that they make you feel like you’re right in the strawberry field feeling the sun shining down on your back and smelling the ripe, fragrant berries.

I’ve made one slight change to this recipe–I like to toast the black peppercorns in a dry skillet until they start to smell aromatic and peppery, then crush and add to the sorbet. I think it makes a more complex, spicier accent from the pepper.

Spiced Strawberry Sorbet


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste


  • In a saucepan combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  • Stir in peppercorns and remove pan from heat.
  • Cover pan and let syrup stand 1 hour.
  • Strain syrup through a fine sieve into a food processor or blender and discard peppercorns.
  • Puree hulled strawberries with syrup until very smooth and force though sieve into a bowl, discarding seeds and other solids.
  • Stir in vinegar and chill, covered, until cold.
  • Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker, following manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Serve sorbet with sliced strawberries.

The Epicurious recipe suggests an accompaniment of toasted almond Phylo crisps; that recipe is given at the link above.  The balsamic vinegar does not need to be absolute top of the line–but it should be authentic–not a cheap imitation.  To be frank, I’ve never gotten around to making the phyllo crisps to go with the sorbet, though I can attest that a good traditional pound cake, tuiles, or madeleines are excellent with it.

After tasting strawberry with green peppercorns in a Hachez Cocoa d’Arriba chocolate bar, I want to try this using green peppercorns, probably bloomed with heat before putting them into the sorbet.

Another taste combination that occurred to me was to add cilantro (tiny, newly sprouted plants).  If you’re questioning my sanity on that one, there is a reason it occurred to me.  When I was in San Antonio for the national American Society for Indexing convention, I had dinner at Los Ramblas (Spanish cuisine), and I had a strawberry gazpacho with tiny cilantro “microgreens”–those with just the cotyledons–not even the first true leaves; it was an awesome flavor combination that I think might adapt nicely to sorbet. (The microgreens are not nearly so strongly flavored as fully grown cilantro.)

small alpine strawberry

alpine strawberry

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

This was scheduled for a later post, but the HOT weather and the impending end of strawberry season dictates it should be shared now.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did–and will be for a bit yet.

I’ve just realized that strawberry season may be coming to an end and I’ve not yet make strawberry ice cream–so that has become the project of the day.  I brought a huge basked of strawberries home from the farmers’ market with me.  Ate a bunch, and now it’s ice cream time.  In the past I’ve not really make a lot of ice cream, but I received a wonderful book of recipes for my birthday:  The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz and I’m finding lots of things that I want to try out.  (This is a Philadelphia style ice cream–a particular favorite of my as it does not have me making custard, so it’s really fast and easy to put together).

Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream  (Adapted from “The Perfect Scoop”  p. 90)


  • 450 grams fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced.
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) vodka or kirsch
  • 240 grams sour cream
  • 250 mL heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Slice the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka.  Let stand at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally so that the sugar dissolves. 
  • Pulse the berries and liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in a food processor/blender until almost smooth, but still slightly chunky. 
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

How simple is that.  The hard part is waiting until it’s frozen.  The strawberry aroma is intense if you start this with good ripe strawberries…I’d never really though about smelling ice cream before–but while I was peeking into the ice cream maker I realized that I WAS smelling strawberries–and that made the waiting even more difficult.

It took about 25 minutes for the ice cream to be really thick and showing indentations where the blades had gone through.  It expanded to reach the top of the canister, so I stopped at that point.

The recipe suggested having a dip while it was still at that creamy stage–for harder, put it into the freezer in air-tight plastic containers.  I did have an immediate sample but some did get put into the freezer for later–in single-serving portions.

This may be the most intense strawberry ice cream that I’ve ever eaten.  I’m sure that part of the credit goes to starting with really good, ripe strawberries–not supermarket berries.  These were from the farmers’ market.

Now that blueberries, blackberries and peaches are on the way, I’m sure that the canister for the ice cream maker will absolutely have to live in the freezer. (Makes me glad that I have a small chest-type freezer on the back porch).  I also have to say hearty thanks to the friend who gave me the Perfect Scoop for a birthday present!