Occasionally I create something so good that it encourages me to keep trying ideas along the same path to see what other baking discoveries I can make. Remember the red wine cherry pie I made? That pie has lingered on my mind ever since I baked it. I liked the richness and depth the wine added so much that I began to wonder what other alcoholic beverages could do the same for my desserts. Instinctively I turned to Lambic beers, which are fruit infused and a little sweeter than your average beer, making them more dessert friendly. Lambic beers are produced in Belgium and are different than other beers because they are spontaneously fermented. That is, the pressed liquid is exposed to “wild” yeasts found in nature, which cause the fermentation process. Plain Lambics are cloudy in appearance and tend to be dry and cidery with sometimes a sour aftertaste. They are very commonly infused with fruit, either the whole fruit or syrup, to eliminate the sour note. You can find many flavors: cherry, raspberry, peach, black currant, apple, pear, apricot, plum, blueberry, pineapple, banana and strawberry, to name just a few.
I’m not a beer drinker AT ALL. When my boyfriend and I head to our local biergarten I always proudly order a Lambic (my personal favorite are the peach, apple and raspberry) and state, “See! I’m drinking beer!” My boyfriend shakes his head and sighs, “that’s not beer”. It comes in a tall pretty glass thin like a champagne flute with a gold rim. Okay, its no pilsner, lager or ale, but it is still beer!
Anyway, back to baking. I found some very plump and juicy Bing cherries at the market, so I bought those along with Kriek Lambic (cherry infused). I felt that the cherry flavored beer would add complexity and intensity to something; I just couldn’t decide what. The fizz in the Lambic was such a refreshing quality as well that I wanted to make sure it was still palpable in the end result, therefore I could not cook the beer. I decided to freeze it instead! I played around a bit in my kitchen and came up with a cherry Lambic sorbet that was refreshing and bright and still had that fizz to it which just made it fun to eat!
Cherry Lambic Sorbet
3 cups washed and pitted Bing cherries (about 18 ounces)
3/4 cup chilled simple syrup (see note)
1 cup chilled Kriek (cherry) Lambic beer
In a blender, puree the cherries until smooth. Stir in the simple syrup and the cherry Lambic beer. Pour the sorbet base into your ice cream maker and churn until set. It will take longer than a usual sorbet due to the alcohol content, and will still be loose when it is fully set. Do not fret! Freeze in a plastic container until firm, at least 4 hours.
NOTE: to make simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar (about 2/3 cup) and water (about 2/3 cup) in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, until it becomes a syrupy consistency. Cool completely before using. Measure what you need for the recipe and use the rest in iced coffee or tea.
The sorbet is lovely by itself; it’s slightly malty from the beer, but refreshingly sweet tart from the cherries, and even frozen you can still feel the fizz on your tongue. It would make an awesome beer float. Serve it in a tall glass with the remaining Lambic beer and maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream. I drank all of the Lambic before my sorbet froze however, so I did not have that to serve it with. I did have some left over cherries around and do you remember the Brandied Cherries I blogged about six weeks ago?! Yep! They are ready! I scooped some of those boozy cherries on top of my sorbet for a delicious dessert-night cap combination. I highly recommend it!
NOTE: Don’t stop with just cherries! I used cherries in the recipe because they happened to look great at the market. Any fruit can be substituted in this recipe and matched with its subsequent Lambic beer flavor. (i.e. peach with Peche Lambic)