It’s nothing short of embarrassing when I hear myself complaining about it.
The complaining is about the most mundane thing: the weather. The embarrassment is because when a girl gets married to the best man in the world and completes her first book and her whole family is in this moment healthy and happy, she knows it’s downright pathetic that she’d have a complaint in the world about much of anything, let alone the weather.
And yet. She does. Here’s how it sounds:
This weather! Just stupid-ugly.
If it rains again today, I’m going to…(she trails off with no real threat to give the rain)
I’m so sick of wearing the same summer sweater every day.
I feel like I should make a warm and cozy stew today, not ice cream.
One of the few positive things that could be said about the weather up north in Michigan this summer, besides the sometimes beautiful sunsets it produces, is that it’s a lot like San Francisco in summer. You know the Twain quote: the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Except we’re not in San Francisco.
Thing is, we had similar weather last summer. And then the winter of polar vortex. I wish I could joke about having heard on the street more than once in the past week that we can expect snow again up north…in September.
Dan reminded me recently that I haven’t made a single batch of ice cream this summer (no stew, either). He remembers a salted caramel dream I made last summer, and tub after tub that I twirled out during cookbook recipe development over the winter. It’s been months, he groaned.
I came up with every excuse I could think of, from wedding to book to blog, but the biggest one to which no retort could be made? Too cold for ice cream, man. That held no water, though, since Dan knows all too well that I’ve never let the weather keep me from a cone, (and neither has he).
I suspect the Mr. is not expecting apricot sherbet for the ice cream response to his request. But I’ve been thinking on developing this recipe ever since I tasted something like it back in January when I was in the sunny south visiting my snowbird mother and my brother Richard and co. who live in that balmy bliss year round. The apricot flavor will slap you in the face, it’s that tart and good (those who know my sister can tell from that slap-phrase that I’ve been hanging out with her a lot this summer…). Besides, when I saw the pretty little apricots at the market I realized the sun must have been out once or twice here to have produced such bounty of my favorite–the Lebanese favorite–fruit. The taste of the apricots-turned-sherbet is so WOW, it will transform any and all bad weather juju into just what a beautiful summer it’s been up north in Michigan.
It’s remarkable to discover that a sherbet is simply just cooked fruit or fruit juice and sugar (not too much, or the sherbet won’t set and the fruit flavor won’t shine), chilled and then churned in your ice cream maker. That’s sorbet, actually—add a cup of cream and you’ve got sherbet. Add the same of yogurt or labneh instead, and you’ve got frozen yogurt.
1 pound ripe apricots
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup heavy cream
Pit the apricots by simply splitting them in half with your fingers. Coarsely chop them, leaving the skin on.
In a heavy medium saucepan, bring the apricots and water to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover, cooking until the apricots are broken down and very soft, about 5 minutes. Lift the lid now and then to stir the pot and take in the scent of summer.
Add the sugar and lemon juice and taste. If the apricots need more sweetening, add more sugar a tablespoon at a time until it tastes perfect.
Puree the apricots in a food processor or blender. Add the cream and puree until combined.
Chill the mixture quickly by pouring it into a zip-lock bag and immersing the bag into a bowl of ice water. Massage the bag numerous times, opening the top of the bag to release steam. Or, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.
Pour the cold apricot mixture into your ice cream maker and churn. Serve the apricot sherbet soft right away, or freeze for a couple of hours for a harder, colder effect.