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Champagne Sorbet with Lemon, Mint & Red Peppercorns

by Marcel Biró & Shannon Kring Biró

Special occasions invariably feature the same soundtrack: the rise and fall of laughter, the gentle dings of silver meeting china, the crescendo of a popping cork.  No sound elicits a festive frame of mind like this familiar crack-thump-aah, and chances are you’ve hears it more than a few times in the past few months. 

In this four-part series, we’ll share our favorite recipes that take the unmistakable flavor of celebration from the flute to the plate.  Champagne’s not just for drinking anymore.

 


Champagne Sorbet with Lemon, Mint

& Red Peppercorns

This is a great variation on one of the most popular amuse-bouches from The Kitchens of Biró television series and its companion cookbook, Biró: European-Inspired Cuisine: Lemon-Mint Sorbet with Red Peppercorns.  Instead of using only water, as we did on the show and in the book, however, this recipe features the addition of Champagne. The result is exactly what we look for in a meal prelude: a presentation that’s refreshing and light, cleans the palate, and leaves our guests wanting more.  The bubbles suspended in the sorbet enhance the unexpectedly delightful combination of lemon, mint, and pepper and provide outstanding eye appeal. 

You may use the Champagne of your choice, but we really like using NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut from Reims, France.  You could also use a great sparkling wine, such as NV Gruet Blanc de Noir from New Mexico.

 

Serves 4

1 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
1 ounce red peppercorns
¼ cup Champagne
½ ounce mint leaves, en chiffonade
Mint leaves for garnish
Peppercorns for garnish

  1. If using an ice cream machine for this recipe, prepare the bowl inserts as per your machine manufacturer’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice cream machine, place a medium-sized stainless steel bowl in the freezer to chill.
  2. Place the cold water in a small saucepan.  Add the sugar.  Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat.  Allow to cool.
  3. Add the zest and juice to the cooled sugar syrup mixture. 
  4. Place the peppercorns in a food processor and pulse until cracked, about 10 seconds. 
  5. Add the Champagne, freshly cracked peppercorns, and mint chiffonades to the sugar syrup mixture and stir gently to combine.
  6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine or chilled stainless bowl.  If using an ice cream machine, process according to your machine’s specifications.  If using the stainless bowl method, remove from freezer every half hour and stir.  This process can take up to 2 hours, depending on your freezer and the climate in which you live.

 

Presentation

We like to use a clear, chilled 2-ounce shot glass for this dish, as it looks modern and shows off the vibrant green and red colors.  We pipe the sorbet into the glass with a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. If you used the bowl method, your sorbet may more closely resemble a granité, which has a more granular texture than a sorbet and would look lovely shaved into any clear vessel.  Garnish with mint leaves and whole red peppercorns.  Serve immediately.

 

Quick Tip: What is en chiffonade?
The French term en chiffonade translates literally to “made of rags” and simply means to cut vegetables or herbs into thin strips. 

 

 

© Marcel Biró and Shannon Kring Biró. From Biró: European-Inspired Cuisine cookbook (Gibbs Smith). All rights reserved.

Photo credit Marty Snortum.



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