Sunday, August 22, 2010

Watermelon Sorbet with Chocolate Seeds (Page 871)

RECIPE #1199

  • Date: Thursday, August 5, 2010 -- 8pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companions: Matty and PJ
  • Recipe Rating: C+

PJ has an allergy to eggs so when he came over for dinner I wanted to make an egg-free dessert from The Book. I only had two egg-free options left to choose from: this recipe and a recipe where the primary ingredient was pureed prunes. This one seemed like the lesser of two evils. This recipe was more than a little showy/ridiculous. The idea was to start with a watermelon, use it to make watermelon sorbet, then reassemble to look like watermelon again. The rind you see in the picture above is the original rind of the watermelon, just frozen. The rind is filled with a simple watermelon sorbet: pureed watermelon + sugar + lime juice + ice cream maker. And those "seeds" you see are shaped from melted chocolate. A little silly? I think so. But I have no real objection to silly. My actual objection to this recipe was that it just wasn't good. I love watermelon, but this sorbet didn't do it for me. It was very sweet but without a lot of flavor. Part of what makes watermelon so nice to eat is the texture of it, and that was completely lost here. There was one optional ingredient, sambuca, which I opted not to include. Perhaps the flavor would have been better with the sambuca in, but honestly it is hard to imagine anise-flavored liqueur helping matters. My special gentleman actually liked this dessert pretty well, and PJ politely ate his, but after a few bites I opted to just eat some of the leftover slices of real watermelon instead. They were definitely tastier.

The recipe is here.

As the end of summer rapidly approaches, I decided to make one last little trip, to Wisconsin. On Thursday morning bright and early my special gentleman and I hit the road. It is about 6 hours by car from our house in East Lansing to Madison, where my parents live part of the time. My dad actually wasn't in town, but my mom was in Madison and my brother Spencer was visiting from Los Angeles. My mom, Spencer, my special gentleman, and I hung out on Thursday and Friday, watching movies, running errands, eating a lot, and just relaxing. It was nice! On Saturday morning a couple of my special gentleman's swimmer friends, Grant and Paps, came down to Madison from Milwaukee and the three of them competed in an open water swim race on one of Madison's lakes. The race was 2.4 miles long, which seemed to me like quite a long way to swim! They made it look easy though, and the three of them finished very well. On Saturday afternoon my special gentleman and I headed up to Milwaukee. Our good friends Grant and Anna live in Milwaukee now and their daughter Julia was baptized on Saturday. We went to the baptism then the party afterward, which involved brats and beer in true Wisconsin style! Yum! Last night we stayed with Grant and Anna. This morning I hit the road again, and drove back home.

It was a great trip. I worried a little bit about our kittens while we were gone. But our friend Mary checked in on them every day, and when I got back they were doing great. Our teeniest kitten even gained a little bit of weight while we were gone. We worry about him because he isn't gaining as fast as he probably should, but he gained more than an ounce in our absence, which for him is a big accomplishment!

Now my last trip of the summer is done and the semester will be starting soon. I have three days of faculty retreat/orientation this week, starting in the morning. So I should get some sleep!


Anonymous said...

OMG. How could I have missed this recipe in The Book? I used to eat frozen treats like these in Japan back in the 90s that were to-die-for. This recipe has to be based on them or vice versa.

The texture of the Japanese treats was a perfect simulation of watermelon, but frozen. The rind was also sorbet, but it had a slightly different, more dense and rind-like texture, and a more sour, rind-like taste. The chocolate seeds were amusing, I always thought. Only in Japan will you find such care and subtlety in a $1 frozen treat.

I actually was a bit obsessed with these watermelon popsicles, as I called them. I can't remember the word for them in Japanese, but I remember I had difficulty saying it and being understood anyhow, so I didn't bother with asking for them. I just sashayed up to the coolers and looked for them myself. They were very popular and often sold out, so it was always a delightful surprise to find them available.

Thanks for the memories. Too bad the recipe didn't work out.


ps. I would be more than happy to send you a darning needle, if you tell me the size you need and how to go about it.

Teena said...

Hi Caroline -- what a great story. I can totally imagine this sort of thing being sold in Japan!