Memories of her grandmother's tomato preserves -- sweet and spicy, with chunks of lemon -- inspired Linda Cook to come up with this recipe.
She serves it as a dessert but says it could also serve as a palate refresher between courses.
Cook uses organic cane sugar for the sorbet; we tested it with white refined sugar and it worked fine. She calls for an organic lemon because the entire lemon goes into the sorbet, and she wants the peel to be free of wax or chemicals.
If this recipe makes too much for the capacity of your ice cream maker, you can either make another batch of sorbet or boil down the excess as preserves to spread on toast for breakfast.
Servings: 7 cups
- 4 pounds very ripe tomatoes, peeled (about 10 medium tomatoes; see NOTE)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 large organic lemon, sliced very thin with a mandoline or knife, seeded
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-inch piece peeled ginger root, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Chop the tomatoes into 1/2-inch chunks, retaining most but not all of the seeds and juice. (You don't want the final product to be too seedy.) Combine the chopped tomatoes, sugar, lemon, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a large, heavy–bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture begins to bubble gently at the edges, cook for 30 minutes. Stir often and regulate the heat so that the mixture bubbles very gently. The mixture will be slightly thickened and chunky, but not dry, and the tomato and lemon will be soft.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a blender and pulse 2 or 3 times to break up some of the larger pieces of tomato and lemon. Transfer to a storage container, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Transfer it to a lidded container, cover and store it in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.
NOTE: To peel tomatoes, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Cut an "X" in the bottom of the tomato and remove the stem. Place a couple of tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds -- no longer. Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer the tomatoes to the ice water. The skin should simply slip off.
From Top Tomato 2012 finalist Cook, of Fairfax City.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.