Strawberry Sorbet with Marsala-Soaked Sponge Cake


This strawberry sorbet comes with a deliciously boozy twist

For the sorbet:

• 240g water
• 205g sugar
• 50g dextrose
• 4g stabiliser
• 500g strawberry puree, (50%), assume 5% sugar (see note)
• Sponge cake
• Vanilla whipped cream

For mixing:
1 Put the water in a double boiler over a medium heat.
2 Put all the powders in a bowl and mix until combined. When the water hits 40°C, whisk in the powders and bring the mixture up to 65°C, whisking constantly.
3 Transfer the mixture to a stainless steel bowl and place in an ice bath; chill to 40°C.
4 Cover tightly with foil and put in the freezer, stirring every 10 minutes or so until the mixture drops to 4°C, then add the strawberry purée and blend well using a stick blender. Place in the fridge and let it age for 4 hours.

For churning:
1 Turn on your gelato maker so it begins the freezing process.
2 Using a stick blender, blend the mixture for 1 minute, then pour into the gelato maker.
3 Once the mixture reaches –4°C, scoop out the sorbet and transfer to a pre-cooled stainless steel bowl, cover tightly and immediately place in the freezer.
4 After 30 minutes, remove the strawberry sorbet from the freezer. In another stainless steel bowl, layer in the strawberry sorbet, the cubes of marsala-soaked sponge and the vanilla whipped cream, then cover and return to the freezer.

For serving:
1 The sorbet should be served within 2 to 3 hours after placing it in the freezer, or when it reaches –12°C. If it goes below –15°C or is left in the freezer overnight, the texture will be compromised.

Purée 500 g fresh or frozen strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Do not strain. If using frozen strawberries, put them in a bowl and let them thaw before processing.

For the sponge cake:

For the soaking liquor:
• 300g sweet marsala wine
• 150g sugar
• 1 orange, strips of peel, pith removed
• 1 lemon, strips of peel, pitch removed

For the cake:
• 250g plain flour
• 4g bicarbonate of soda
• 7 eggs
• 200g caster sugar

1 First prepare the soaking liquor. Put the marsala in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
2 Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve, then add the strips of orange and lemon peel. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat and cover the pan with plastic wrap. You need to cover the pan while the liquid is still warm; this will retain the heat and more of the oils in the citrus peel will be released.
3 Let the mixture cool down, then place in the fridge overnight to give the flavours time to develop.
4 Leave the peel in the liquid until just before you are ready to use it, then remove and discard.
5 To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 30 x 20 cm cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
6 Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Beat the eggs in a large bowl for about 6 minutes, or until thick and pale, then gradually add the sugar, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved.
7 Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
8 Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sponge is light golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean.
9 Leave the sponge in the tin and pour the soaking liquor over the cake; soak for 30 minutes. Place the sponge in the freezer (still in its tin) for 30 minutes before your sorbet is ready so that it firms up and is easy to handle. When the sorbet is ready, cut the cake into 1 cm cubes.

Recipe courtesy of Nick Palumbo, extracted from Gelato Messina. Photographer: Billy Law

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