There was an audible groan of relief from my over-stuffed guests when this course came out. It felt like a bit of a holiday after all the rich cream- and meat-based foodstuffs we had gorged on up to this point. I have to admit that I'd always thought of sorbet as something of a none event and rather a sorry excuse for pudding. But, after visiting our good friends, Lily and Alex, in Paris a few years ago, I had my mind surely and sharply changed. Lily ordered an apple sorbet. After scoffingly describing her dessert choice as "a cold, wet yawn" she insisted I have a spoonful, and by God I'm glad she did. Yes, it was cold, and yes, it was wet - in fact, it was positively dripping in Calvados - but no, there wasn't a yawn in sight. It was delicious. So fresh, so palate-cleansing, so... apple-y. I don't think, up to that point, I'd ever had a proper home-made sorbet. My mum loves the stuff but, as far as I can remember, has never made sorbet from scratch. She always insisted on having a constant stash of shop bought sorbet in the freezer at all times and it always tasted of well... a cold, wet yawn. So I always avoided it and I didn't see any reason to change my ways until Lily's Calvados-soaked apple sorbet touched my lips. Now I like sorbet - though let's be honest, there are still almost always more appealing menu options on offer when dining out. I like making sorbet too and this little booze injected mint and lime number worked brilliantly as a pre-pudding palate cleanser.
15 oz / 375 g caster sugar
17 fl. oz/ 500 ml water
1 tbsp finely grated lime zest
8.5 fl. oz/ 250 ml freshly squeezed and strained lime juice (about 12 - 15 limes)
A generous bunch of fresh mint, chopped
Several fingers of white rum
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan with a few pinches of the lime zest over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, let the syrup come up to the boil, turn off the heat and leave to cool completely. Once cool, stir in the juice and remaining zest and pop the mixture in fridge for at least an hour before pouring into an ice cream machine - follow your specific model's instructions. Once it begins to set, chuck in the chopped mint. If you don't have an ice cream machine, just pour the lime syrup into a tupperware box and stick in the freezer, stirring vigorously every half hour or so to prevent ice crystals forming. It will take at least four hours to set. Take the sorbet out of the freezer about 20 minutes before serving, scoop into glasses and pour over a generous glug of white rum.