This should come as no surprise, but I was a pencils-sharpened-on-the-first-day-of-school kid, a lover of fresh sheets of notebook paper and nubbly eraser shavings. A shy, nerdish girl who loved to write, who grew into an adult version of the very same. I looked forward to essay questions with the same passion that most kids reserved for recess, because they were a chance to distill my wild thoughts onto paper, to quiet my mind and force my hands to shape the words my mouth could never seem to pronounce (always tongue-tied).
What does all this have to do with lemon basil sorbet? Everything. I love an essay question now as much as then, and I can't seem to quit the habit. So, when presented with the challenge of turning a grouping of aromatic candles into a batch of original recipes, I threw my hand up in the air like an excited third-grader at a desk and said 'Yes! Yes please, I will!!' This is the first in a series of posts based on the lusciously scented candles sent to me by my friends at Northern Lights (full disclosure: they provided the candles, but all opinions and recipes provided are one hundred percent my own), and I couldn't be more excited to start with this lemon basil sorbet. Like the fragrance that inspired it, this sorbet begins with fresh citrus notes, follows with a hint of basil, and finishes with a heaped spoonful of black peppercorn-spiked whipped cream. Tart, sweet and spice all harmonizing together beautifully. Best of all, you can make this without an ice cream maker, with minimal effort.
I'd be doing you a major disservice if I didn't point out that a scoop of lemon basil sorbet with a splash of gin and soda water makes an amazingly effervescent cocktail--citrus, herbs and gin are best friends forever.
1 cup white sugar
2 cups water
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
1 cup heavy whipping cream
freshly ground black pepper (use a coarse grind)
Combine white sugar and water in a medium saucepan, heat over medium until sugar dissolves completely. In a food processor, combine lemon juice, zest, powdered sugar and fresh basil leaves, pulse into a fine paste, then whisk into sugar syrup.
Process in an ice cream machine if you have one, or pour into a metal loaf pan as seen here, place in freezer. Remove every hour or so and scrape the sides with a fork, giving it a good stir every time--this helps to homogenize the ice crystals and takes the place of churning in a machine, giving you a nice, smooth sorbet.
Whip cream just before serving, until soft peaks form, then add ground black pepper to taste, serve heaped on a few scoops of sorbet.