Happy New Year Everyone… For a brand new start to the brand new year I wanted to pass along a palate cleanser of sorts… one that was served in our new favorite restaruaunt in Cancun called La Habicheula. They served up a lovely scoop of lemon ice that was flavoured with black licorice, it was served between the appetizers and the main course. I enjoyed the flavor so much that it was one of the first things I wanted to recreate when I got home.
They served a small scoop on a small half guava and it looked so pretty and tasted amazing. I decided to scoop it in a half lemon and have it as part of a New Year cleanser…
I don’t have exact measurements here but this was the route I traveled.
I first cut in half and juiced and scooped out the insides of about a 10 lemons… Then I strained the pulp to get all the last drops out and reserved it in a bowl. I also cleaned up the half lemons drying them off putting them in a plastic bag for later. In a small saucepan I boiled 3 cups of water with 1½ cups of sugar and dropped in 4 or 5 star anis, letting the anis infuse the water with flavour. I found that the flavour was a little too subtle and I added in about a tablespoon of freshly crushed fennel seeds and let it soak. Straining out all the bits of fennel seeds I strained the simple syrup and mixed it in with the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Taste it to make sure that you have a nice flavour, I like anything ‘lemon’ to actually taste tart so I probably put less sugar than many of you might. Adjust sugar to suit your own tastes. Then let the whole mixture cool, I did this part the night before.
This is where you follow your ice-cream maker manufacturer’s instructions. I have a kitchen aid ice-cream attachment and so I set that baby up and let it go. In the meantime I arranged my ‘lemon bowls’ and got ready to scoop.
If you don’t have an ice-cream maker then you have a little more attention to pay to this, but it can still be easily made. Just use a large shallow dish to have a lot of surface area and place the mixture in the freezer. Every half hour or so use a fork to scrape the mixture and keep doing this until you have a nice sorbet consistency. Then serve, in a half lemon, or in a bowl with a sprig of mint.
One thing mentioned by one of our guests was that it would have been good with the mint infused, I think that was a great suggestion and perhaps that will be my addition to the next round.
At any rate, if you are looking for a nice light dessert to cleanse last year’s palate then this is simple enough to make and tasty enough to impress…. I’m also thinking it would be nice to add some vodka or tequila or sambuka!