Coconut Strawberry Sorbet! This is another food processor frozen dessert, in the spirit of banana ice cream – minus the bananas, of course! Frozen strawberries form the base of this dish, and are complemented by the addition of coconut milk, shredded coconut, and a splash of lime juice. (Though this would work just as well using only strawberries and a bit of nondairy milk.) The finished product is a bit like a slushie, but thicker.
This time around, I experimented with agar powder as a thickening agent. Usually I use arrowroot powder, and even then just with “regular” ice cream recipes requiring an ice cream machine. (See, e.g., last month’s Green Tea & Almond Ice Cream.) But I just happened to have a new bag of agar on hand for another recipe, and had read that it’s useful in ice cream, as it’s supposed to help prevent ice crystals from forming in frozen foodstuffs. Strawberries don’t have the magical properties of bananas – they don’t metamorphose into ice creamy consistency when frozen – and I hoped that agar would give this sorbet a push toward creaminess.
The result? Less than impressive. When allowed to freeze overnight, the sorbet still becomes hard and a bit icy. Which is fine, if you don’t mind letting it defrost on the counter – or even nuking it in the microwave – before sitting down to a scoop or two or three. But really, this sorbet is best enjoyed straight out of the food processor, or after just an hour or two in the freezer.
Like many thickening agents, agar it only works when heated, hence the boiling and mixing in step #1. It’s also kind of expensive. (Or it is if you buy it at Whole Foods!) If you’d rather, you can eliminate the agar and skip the first step altogether. I don’t think it’ll make much difference in the finished product. Which is delicious, by the way!
Coconut Strawberry Sorbet
(Makes a little more than 1/2 a quart of sorbet.)
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon agar powder (optional)
4 cups strawberries, sliced and frozen
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add the agar powder and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for several minutes, whisking all the while, until the agar has dissolved into the coconut milk. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (Skip this step if not using agar powder.)
2. Combine the coconut milk, strawberries, lime juice, and shredded coconut in a food processor and pulse until blended. Most likely you’ll need to stop and stir the batter by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl.
3. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the batter in the freezer for several hours to make a sorbet. To help prevent ice crystals from forming, remove the sorbet from the freezer and give it a good stir every half hour or so. Serve with fresh strawberries or topped with shredded coconut – yum!