Words and Photos by Fred Chang
For those of you who follow Australian television, namely My Kitchen Rules, you would have heard a lot about mascarpone sorbet and ice cream, components used by two competing teams and in one of those cases, receiving rave reviews by incredibly judicious judge, Chef Colin Fassnidge. While this recipe is not the same as Katie and Nikki’s (the team whose mascarpone sorbet earned them plenty of applause and inspired a rival team to create a mascarpone gelato in response), it is still a simple, straightforward recipe for those who are interested in a delicious ice cream.
Traditionally, with sorbet, there is an equal ratio of sugar to water to make a simple syrup. Fruit puree is added to this syrup and churned to create a creamy, icy texture. With mascarpone sorbet, the fruit puree is simply replaced. The reason why ice cream and sorbet are churned is to incorporate the cold temperature without the ice crystals, which would otherwise result in a sweet block of frozen ice, although that in itself could be served as an Indian dessert known as kulfi. In this case, to make a proper ice cream as opposed to a kulfi, there are two methods that can be used to churn the ice cream, assuming one does not have an ice cream machine.
The first is more do-able, as it just requires two differently sized zip lock bags, ice, and salt. Pour the sorbet base into the smaller bag. Place ice into the larger bag, sprinkle salt over that, and place in the base. Zip the bag, and shake for roughly 15 minutes. After removing the smaller bag, the coldness from the ice should have transferred to the ice cream base, resulting in a creamy texture with little to no ice crystals.
The second method, which I tend to use, involves the use of a blender. Simply freeze the ice cream base until it is a solid block, and then blend the mixture. This will be a lot easier to do with an emulsion blender (I use a CuisineArt Smart Stick), as there will be more ice cream preserved at the end of the process, but a regular blender or anything that can be used to make a smoothie can work as well. While as a solid block, there will be ice crystals; these crystals will break down and incorporate themselves into the ice cream base once blended, removing any grainy, crunchy ice from the base and leaving a smooth texture. Re-freeze the blended base to set, and the ice cream or sorbet should be ready to serve.
Mascarpone Sorbet (serves roughly 4-6 people)
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine ingredients. Once a smooth mixture, pour into any freeze-proof container. Freeze for at 2-2 1/2 hours before blending. Blend until the mixture appears soft and creamy. At this point, it might begin melting from the heat of the blender. Continue to freeze until set. Scoop and serve!