Watermelon is one of those fruits whose flavor is pretty much perfect as is, which makes sorbet the perfect vehicle, allowing the fruit to take front and center. It’s kind of like a frozen agua fresca. Enjoy it as a palate cleanser between courses, or as a light dessert when it is still 80 degrees after the sun has set. (Those of us in San Francisco will suspend disbelief and eat it in honor of summer happening in the abstract, somewhere where it is not 54 degrees in the middle of the day, and overcast.)
Props go out to the grand master of frozen desserts, David Lebovitz, for all of his troubleshooting. What has been added here – 1 tablespoon of vodka and two tablespoons lime juice – assists in the velvety texture of the sorbet and helps to prevent an icy mess. Further, it was recommended to thoroughly cool the mixture prior to churning, for the same reason.
Note: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make this into a granita instead. Prepare the mixture in the same manner, and pour into a glass baking dish. Scrape the mixture every 1/2 hour as it cools in order to keep it from becoming a solid block. When it is completely frozen, fluff it with a fork, dish and serve.
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
3 cups pureed watermelon
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon vodka
optional garnish: mint leaves, lime zest
For the puree: remove seeds if there are any, cut into chunks and blend. You want the 3 cups to be measured after it is pureed. Once that is done, measure 1/2 cup of the puree and add that, along with the sugar and a pinch of salt, to a saucepan. Stir over low heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Combine this with the vodka and lime juice.
It is important to refrigerate the mixture until it reaches 40 degrees – I let it sit overnight to do so. Once it is sufficiently cooled, pour it into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.