How lucky am I? I got to spend a delightful evening with Bea & P having dinner in Seattle. We were supposed to go to my new obsession, Sitka & Spruce, for dinner... but ditz I am, I hadn't realized that they weren't open for dinner on Monday and Tuesday evenings and we arrived to a closed shop. So, we scrambled and ended up having dinner at Crow in Queen Anne, another favorite of ours.
Unfortunately, the food and service that night really didn't live up to its usual wow-inspiringness... everything was fine, but not much more than that, with two distinct exceptions: primarily and not too surprisingly, the company was fabulous. Bea is as elegant and warm in person as she is on her blog (as is her husband). The slowness of the service was made much less impactful by the fascinating conversation and hearing about each others travels. Secondly, P's sorbets for dessert (I love that food bloggers like to share and that our families indulge us!) were outstanding... especially the melon, which was smooth, silky and subtly sweet.
The next day, I couldn't stop craving it... but as luck would have it I had a melon, just at the peak of ripeness and ready to be used for just such a treat.
I decided on a melon sherbet, rather than a sorbet or gelato, adding just a bit but not too much creaminess. Heidi (my food blog idol) of 101 Cookbooks has two different recipes for melon sherbet... the one in her print cookbook, Cook 1.0, calls for sweetened condensed milk while the recipe online uses whole milk and honey. I didn't have any whole milk, but fudged it with a mixture of heavy cream and nonfat milk, and otherwise followed her recipe. For the melon, I used some variety of charentais melon, a small very delicate muskmelon that has a very light subtle flavor. I'm not sure exactly what the variety is... it was in a bin with 3 other small french muskmelons, some with the typical salmon colored flesh. My sherbet melon however had a very pale greenish-white flesh, more like of a Casaba melon and a wonderfully fragrant aroma that was hard to put down.
My sherbet ended up tasting delicious, both light and delicate as the melon itself. I wasn't thrilled with the texture which was a bit too icy instead of the silky spoonful I was hoping for. Scooping it was a chore, as the balls wouldn't stick into beautiful little rounds as I had hoped, but broke into granita like crumbs. But, that didn't come close to stop Cam & I from finishing off our full bowls.
Ingredient measurements listed are per pound of melon
1 Charentais Melon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup cream
a pinch of fine grain salt
Cut the melon in half and remove the seeds.
Over a bowl or your blender/food processor, scoop out the melon flesh. Keeping it over the bowl will ensure that you get each precious drop of juice. With the Charentais melon, you should be able to get very close to the rind if your melon is ripe enough. Add the pinch of salt, and blend slightly. Pour in the milk and cream and about 1/4 of the total honey. Blend well. Continue adding the remaining honey to taste, being careful not to over sweeten. I ended up using about 2/3 the honey for my melon. Chill the mixture for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Then, pour into an ice-cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
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Lara Ferroni is a former tech geek turned food geek who spends her days exploring the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. As a food writer and photographer, you might spy her learning to make kim chee in the back rooms of a local church, foraging for wild berries, or snapping away in the some of the Seattle and Portland's finest kitchens. You can find her work in publications such as Epicurious.com, Gourmet.com, Edible Communities (Seattle, San Francisco), Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan as well as numerous cookbooks, including Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.