In thinking about a comment made by Gail, one of my readers, on the post I wrote about keeping tomatoes fresh through December, I thought of another idea I wanted to share with you. It could bring your tomatoes to the table on Christmas day, but in a slightly different form than fresh sliced.
The recipe is simple, easy and takes about 30 minutes to make. You can make it nowwhile tomatoes are at their peak and and put it in your freezer until the appropriate time.
I served this fresh Tomato Sherbet to 8 guests as part of a five course dinner between the main course and dessert. Everyone had been drinking wine and I wanted to make sure their taste buds were refreshed so they could enjoy the chocolate mousse (with fresh raspberry essence) I had prepared for dessert. So I served this to “cleanse the palate.” It was a tremendous hit!
If I were serving it as part of the main meal on Christmas, that is how I would serve it. The servings can be a little smaller when used this way and will therefore serve more than 8. Servings are especially beautiful in small crystal glasses or stem wear. Decorate each serving with a thin slice of lemon and/or a leaf of mint.
For a Summer Luncheon I would serve it as an appetizer or dessert in very small portions. It is very refreshing on a hot summer day or evening. Decorate with a leaf of lemon balm if you have it.
I am at a loss to describe the exact taste for you. The texture is icy like sherbet or a refrozen smoothie. If you didn’t know it was tomato you would have to think for just a minute or so before you figured it out.
It is so easy to make that you can make it ahead and taste some. To really appreciate the taste – spoon into serving dish and let it sit about 5 or 10 minutes – just long enough to start thawing a bit. Then take a small amount and let it melt in your mouth. It gets better with every mouthful.
My original recipe came from Rodale’s Garden-Fresh Cooking, a book published in 1987. My procedure is different than their suggested procedure (and I think easier) so I have given my way first and their original directions at the end.
Tomato Sherbet Ingredients
8 servings or more
5 to 6 medium large tomatoes at their peak of ripeness
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
- Peel and core tomatoes and cut in half around their equator. (This will make it very easy to get the seeds out, especially if you use a grapefruit spoon.)
- Puree the tomatoes in a blender.
- Pour into a bowl. Measure 3 cups of the puree/liquid and return to blender.
- Add remaining ingredients and give it a spin to mix well.
- Pour into a baking dish and freeze.
- Stir occasionally to reduce ice crystals.
- After it freezes I remove it from the baking dish and put it in a zip lock freezer bag until the day I want to serve it.
- When that day comes, I either process again in the blender or my food processor.
- Place in bowl. Cover. Put in freezer.
- When ready to serve, spoon into serving dishes. (It will be icy when you spoon it into the serving dishes. BUT, by the time you serve it to guests and they start eating, it will be just starting to melt enough to make it glisten and taste just right.)
Rodale’s original instructions are:
In a food processor or blender, puree tomatoes. Pour through a fine sieve to remove peels and seeds. Measure 3 cups of the juice.
Add all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into an 8-inch-square baking dish and freeze. Stir occasionally to reduce ice crystals. For a smooth texture, process in blender or food processor until smooth but still frozen; pour back into dish and freeze. You can also process again before serving.
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