At the beginning of last week, I found myself with half of a delicious cantaloupe.1 Now, that may not seem like much of a problem to you. Eating cantaloupe is a pretty enjoyable activity, after all. But it just so happens that there’s one thing even better than than fresh cantaloupe on a sweltering summer day: icy cantaloupe sorbet!
When I scoured the internet for recipes, my limitations became immediately apparent. No ice cream maker, no corn syrup, not even an electric OR hand mixer. I mixed and matched, mostly following this recipe. So here it is,
Nearly-Unaided-by-Newfangled-Machinery Farmer’s Market Cantaloupe Sorbet2
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cantaloupe, in 1-1.5 inch pieces (watermelon or honeydew can be easily substituted)
- 1-2 tbsp lemon or lime juice3
Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Transfer to a deepish (at least 2 inches) casserole dish and chill until cold, about 2 hours. (I used a tupperware container with a lid and stuck it in the freezer for a half hour.)
MEANWHILE, puree cantaloupe in blender4 until smooth. This takes about 10 seconds, then another 10 to make sure it’s actually smooth and get over your disbelief that yes, it really was that easy. Stir in the lemon/lime juice. (I squeezed half a lemon into the mixture, but you may want to add more if your cantaloupe is especially sweet. I also read a few recipes that called for a splash of vodka or gin, for texture rather than flavor.)
Pour into the sugar syrup in dish/container and stir until well blended. Freeze until almost firm, stirring every half hour or so, at least 3 hours or overnight (if you freeze it overnight, it will become a SOLID frozen block and will need to set it out on the counter to soften again).
Transfer cantaloupe mixture to large bowl. Using electric mixer a fork, beat until fluffy. If you go with the fork method it’s going to be a little lumpy, so don’t FREAK OUT. Get it as fluffy as you can, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect. This sorbet is delicious in any shape. Return to freezer and freeze until firm (do not stir), at least 3 hours or overnight. Cover and keep frozen. Again, if you’ve used a fork rather than an electric mixer, you’ll want to give it a chance to thaw a little before serving, unless you enjoy chipping away at rock-hard sorbet.
Serves 6 / 1 ravenous person with a sweet tooth / 1 normal person for a week / a gaggle of sticky-faced children