Last Friday the humidity broke. Simultaneously, the thrum of a hundred thousand air conditioners ceased. The cicadas hushed: was that a breeze? People walked out their front doors and stood stock still to take in the air. Is it really fall? Did we really make it through another summer? Like survivors of a long war, we skipped off to work, ecstatic about open window sleeping and Starbucks cups marked ‘PSL.’ Maybe my sweaters can come out of their box! It’s time to bake with apples and pumpkin! Everything is wonderful!
Now to most, we are experiencing what sounds an awful lot like summer: high 70s, cool evenings serenaded by a million tiny frogs, people dashing after frisbees and picnicking in the park. It’s fleeting and we know it. Three weeks, and we’ll be shuttering those big Victorian windows and turning on the heat. But for now it’s perfect, and we’re going to soak it up.
I know it’s a total Basic Girl thing, but I can’t help being enamored of fall. I love chilly mornings, warm spices, scarves and boots and starchy vegetables. Fall says Hey, cat lady, you curl up with that book and a mug of tea. I get you. No one’s going to invite you to 6 barbeques, a kid birthday party, and a wedding this weekend. Summer is too extroverted, sweaty and immodest. Fall knows you’re a little worn out from all of that. Fall is pro-introvert.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t quite feel like time to hunker down yet. It’s prime porch-sitting weather here. We need something semi-social to sip.
Along those lines comes today’s offering: no-churn apricot sorbet and pale ale floats. I’m not sure where the idea for apricots and beer came from, but it came and it stayed. More specifically, apricots and hops. All that fruity, bitter, malty, slightly grassy flavor paired with the tangy sweet orange flesh of my favorite canning fruit? Yes. If you’ve had a hopped cider, you’ll understand.
Finding apricots proved difficult (they’re really an early summer fruit), but I’m a Northwest girl and I know my way around that. While pluots are 25% apricot and 75% plum, apriums are just the opposite: mostly apricot, a quarter plum. No fuzz and a plum texture, but that nectary apricot flavor shines through. In place of apricots, they’d absolutely do.
The next problem was figuring out how to get them in the beer. Stew them in beer? Beer syrup sounded dodgy. Infuse? Meh, flat beer. Churn? Hm. Maybe we’re on to something.
Sorbet floats sounded like just the right method to get these flavors to mix, but there was a problem: I do not believe in single-use appliances. My poor husband had to plead and cajole for 4 years for a rice cooker, but we certainly don’t have an ice cream maker. Fortunately, sorbet doesn’t need one. Courtesy of Ashley from Not Without Salt, there’s a way to make sorbet without an ice cream maker. Just blend frozen fruit with simple syrup and freeze. That’s it.
I was skeptical because of past experiences with recipes promising, “No really, you can just alternately blend and freeze every 30 minutes until you’re dead and maybe even later and it’ll be almost like real sorbet!” Soupy or icy, they always disappoint. This sorbet, however, is smooth, scoopable, and (my favorite) comes in a “just right” batch size that makes a perfect dessert for two. Or floats. I’m just saying.
My next sorbet endeavor is definitely going to be pear and ginger, so go ahead and steal that idea now, if you’d like. Either way, enjoy something sweet and light in these fading summer days. There will be plenty of time for pumpkin spice.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups frozen apricots
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional
- 1 bottle pale ale, such as the gluten-free Omission, or another hoppy beer of your choosing
- Pour boiling water over sugar in a glass vessel and stir to dissolve most of the sugar. Pop in the microwave for a minute, keeping an eye to avoid boiling over, and stir again until sugar is fully dissolved. (I like to shake mine up in a Ball jar with a tight-fitting lid.) Put in the freezer for 20 minutes until cooled.
- Blend fruit and 1/4 cup simple syrup until smooth, stopping to move things around a bit if your blender stalls. Taste and add lemon juice if it needs a little perking up.
- Scrape sorbet mixture into a small container, and spread in a 1"-thick layer. Freeze 2 hours, stirring 3 or 4 times. It will harden first around the edges, so you want to stir those into the soft middle to get an even texture.
- When firm, remove from freezer and scoop ice cream into serving glasses. Pour beer on top to fill (about 5 oz.) and slurp on up with spoon and straw. If you happen to be watching Twin Peaks during consumption, all the better.