Nothing says summer quite like a chilled wedge of watermelon, unless it’s a bowl of rosy strawberries or a generous scoop of sorbet. This exotic, Arabian-accented iced confection brings all three together in a single dessert.
Although many of us think of sorbet as a French word, we owe its existence to the Levant. According to The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets (Oxford University Press, 2015), sorbet was derived from the Italian sorbetto, which in turn came from the Turkish serbet, a word based on a medieval Arabic term for sherbets. An Arabic text from the 13th century describes the technique of using ice and salt to chill liquids to temperatures lower than ice alone could achieve. Until mechanical churns were invented, making a sorbet involved stirring liquid in a container surrounded by ice until it absorbed the chill and began to freeze. The Thermomix, of course, does the reverse, blitzing frozen blocks of fruit and flavoured ice into a smooth, refreshing confection.
While the flavours of this sorbet are sophisticated, the method is not. All it requires is a day’s forethought to ensure that your watermelon chunks and strawberry puree are thoroughly frozen before you blitz them. The orange zest marries beautifully with the dash of Campari, which in turn nods to the historic tradition of adding wine or spirits to sorbets.
It’s delicious on its own as an afternoon treat but becomes a dessert dazzler with the addition of vanilla-scented Persian fairy floss (if you want to make the dish gluten free it is safest to leave off the fairy floss, as many brands contain a little wheat flour). The final touch is a dusting of festively sugary dried mint. If mint is not your thing, Fiona Hammond suggests blending 10 grams of freeze-dried strawberries in the Thermomix 5 seconds/speed 9 to make strawberry dust.