Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet

My Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet turns sweet dark cherries, a touch of cream, and a faint but alluring hint of rose water into a luscious make-ahead summer dessert that will make you dream you are feasting in a sultan’s tent under a starry Sahara sky.

Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet

Rose water is the essential water that is left behind in the steam distillation of rose petals to extract rose oil for perfume. Olive to fill a bowl with tap water, add a healthy splash of rose water, and float some delicate rose petals on the surface as a pretty table decoration or a refreshing gesture for pampered guests in my bathroom.

Rose Water

For centuries, fragrant rose water has laced sweets and drinks in Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean, and Southeast Asian cuisines. Did you know rose water was common in American and European baking until the 19th century when vanilla stole the scene?

French Pastry Chef Pierre Hermé (widely acclaimed as the “Picasso of Pastry” and the “Couturier of Haute Pâtisserie”) brought rose water back into vogue in Paris when he combined the flavours of rose, raspberry, and lychee into a much sought-after macaron creation he calls Ispahan (after the Damask rose).  His book titled Ispahan (to be published in September 2013 by Editions de La Martinière) will be dedicated to interpretations of his famous flavour combination.

Rose water has since made its way back into the spotlight on this side of the pond. When I read in the June 2013 issue of Chatelaine magazine that Toronto’s Cava restaurant was using rose water in their Strawberry Rose Water Sorbet, I decided to try the combination of rose water and black cherries in a sherbet. I think it turned out beautifully.

As a springboard for my recipe, I started with Ree Drummond’s Cherry Sherbet recipe (olive her blog The Pioneer Woman); but I cut back on the dairy and sugar, eliminated the alcohol, increased the amount of cherries, and added the rose water. And I made it without an ice cream maker, using a simple tray-in-the-freezer-by-hand method instead.

The heavy rains have shortened the local cherry season which will probably finish up by this weekend so try to get some local cherries while you still can. I found these beauties (grown in Jordan Station, Ontario) at Longo’s on Monday.

Sweet Dark Cherries

I pit cherries the same way I do olives. Make a small slit in the cherry, place the flat side of a chef’s knife over a single cherry and push down carefully with the heel of your hand until the cherry crushes open and the pit is easily removed. It will take a bit of time, but I relax at my kitchen table while pitting my cherries and find it therapeutic. And since you need to make this recipe a day in advance, all the work will be done well ahead of serving it.

Serve my Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet in small portions in tiny, pretty cups. Sprinkle some fresh rose petals or rosebud tea at each place setting for added romance.

Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet

Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet

Makes about 2 cups

You need to make this lovely sherbet one day before serving, then freeze overnight until ready to serve. Be careful not to add too much rose water, which can easily overpower a recipe; there is just a subtle hint in my recipe.

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh sweet dark (black) cherries, freshly pitted by you (yes you!)

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon rose water (see notes below)

juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Place the cherries and sugar in a wide saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently; then reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until cherries are soft and liquid thickens to syrup, about 7 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Add the cherries with syrup to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add cream, rose water, and lemon juice. Blend just until combined.

If you have an ice cream maker, great! But I don’t, so here’s what I do:

Pour the cherry mixture into a 9-by-13-inch freezer-safe baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and place the dish in your freezer. After 45 minutes, use a fork and rubber spatula to scrape the frozen edges in toward the centre, breaking up any lumps while stirring. Repeat every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours, until frozen.

When fully frozen, place the sherbet in an air-tight, freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the freezer, overnight, until ready to serve the next day. The sherbet is best eaten the day after it is made. Serve in small portions in tiny, pretty cups.

Note: Because it is perishable, store your rose water in the refrigerator after opening.

Cortas Rose Water: available at Adonis

www.goldaskitchen.com supplies Nielsen-Massey Rose Water.

Herbal Rosebud Tea from Village Foods: available at Adonis

Fresh Rose Petals: courtesy of Roscoe’s Roses (did you notice some missing Dad?)

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