Food + Drink

From the Chronicle Kitchen: Flour

We’re very lucky to have Joanne Chang back as a guest blogger this week! I asked Joanne to highlight something that screamed “summery” from her acclaimed best selling cookbook, Flour.

If you’ve not been to one of Joanne’s amazing bakery cafes in Boston (and even if you have), check out this short documentary video so you get the full picture of what Flour’s sweets and baked goods are all about:

Have you ever made sherbert? Do you know how it differs from sorbet, and do you have a preference? Leave a comment after the recipe and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of the book we’ll be giving away to one random lucky person.

Ever since my book, Flour, Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery+Cafe, came out last October, I’ve been busy busy busy doing the local book signing circuit: traveling to cooking schools, bookstores, and specialty stores, demo-ing a recipe or two from the book and sharing my story. It’s been an incredibly rewarding and gratifying experience. I meet people who have never baked in their lives who show me pictures of a cake they made from the book and then right afterwards I meet experienced pastry chefs who have told me that after years of baking they now understand why certain things happen after reading explanations from the intro. Before each event I find out what facilities are available for the demo (is there an oven? A stove? A mixer? Or is it just a table?). Based on what’s available and the time I’m allotted, I select a recipe to teach that has enough technique to it to keep people interested while not being so involved as to end up being overly complicated.

There are a handful of recipes that fit this bill: scones, in which I talk about the temperature and size of butter; pop tarts, where I show how to make foolproof flaky pie dough and properly roll out dough; cupcakes, where I demonstrate how to make a swiss meringue and how to hold and use a piping bag. I can now demonstrate these blindfolded with one hand behind my back and thoroughly explain all of the ins and outs of each recipe.

Many many recipes however don’t lend themselves to a good demonstration due to time and equipment constraints. So when I was asked to pick a recipe from the book to make for a recent cookbook dinner at Arrow’s restaurant in Maine, I immediately turned to the Other Sweets chapter which includes a number of my favorite frozen treats recipes. With a full kitchen staff and a freezer and ice cream maker at my disposal I was eager to make and share one of my favorite summer recipes, a Lemon and Prosecco Frappe. The dinner guests loved it and I knew it was a success when the entire kitchen was fighting over the extra desserts we had after serving the guests.

Each of these parts is terrific on its own. Creamy lemon sherbet, light icy prosecco sorbet, barely sweetened crushed strawberries, and a tall flute of bubbly prosecco. All together it truly is one of the most delicious and refreshing desserts you can make. All it takes is an ice cream maker and some willpower not to consume the various parts before putting them together.

—Joanne Chang

Lemon Sherbet and Prosecco Sorbet with Strawberries
Serves 8

This is the most refreshing, light, and fizzy ice cream float ever. I came up with this dessert by accident for my first springtime menu at Rialto. Strawberries were just coming into season, and the farmers were dropping off casefuls at the restaurant. The wine cellar was fully stocked with Prosecco, in anticipation of the warmer weather. And I had just churned a quick lemon sherbet for the staff to use up an abundance of lemon juice I found in the refrigerator. Combining these ingredients just seemed to make sense, and with a little reworking, I turned that combo into this dessert. I churned the Prosecco into an icy sorbet, and I let the strawberries macerate with a little sugar and lemon to bring out their juices. Then I filled tall glasses with tiny scoops of the Prosecco sorbet and the creamy, tart lemon sherbet, alternating them with spoonfuls of strawberries, and finished it off with a generous pour of Prosecco. It’s springtime in a glass!

Lemon Sherbet
1 cup (240 grams) fresh lemon juice (6 to 7 lemons)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2/3 lemon)
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (120 grams) water
Pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (360 grams) half-and-half

Prosecco Sorbet
2/3 cup (140 grams) sugar
1 cup (240 grams) water
1 cup (240 grams) Prosecco
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
Pinch of kosher salt

1 pint (300 grams) strawberries, stemmed and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
About 2 1/2 cups (600 grams) Prosecco (remainder of bottle from the sorbet recipe)

To make the lemon sherbet, in a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice, sugar, and lemon zest and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine-mesh sieve into an airtight container, and stir in the water and salt. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until cold, or up to 1 week.

When you are ready to churn the sherbet, whisk the half-and-half into the lemon base until combined. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. You should have about 3 1/2 cups. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer until serving.

To make the Prosecco sorbet, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, let cool, transfer to an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until cold, or up to 3 weeks.

When you are ready to churn the sorbet, stir the Prosecco, lemon juice, and salt into the sugar syrup. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. You should have about 2 cups. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer until serving.

In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon zest and stir gently to coat the berries evenly. Let macerate for 15 to 20 minutes.

To serve, using half the lemon sherbet, scoop small scoops and divide evenly among 8 tall flutes. Spoon the macerating strawberries on top of the sherbet, dividing them evenly. Layer scoops of the Prosecco sorbet on top of the strawberries, then scoop the remaining lemon sherbet on top of the Prosecco layer. Pour the Prosecco over the tops, filling each flute to the rim. Serve immediately with long spoons.

Joanne Chang

Joanne Chang is the co-owner and pastry chef at Flour Bakery + Café, with locations in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and co-owner of Myers + Chang.
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  • Janel August 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    My kids and husband love sherbet. I've made ice cream and sorbet, but never sherbet for them. I think I need to make some before summer slips away!


  • Treva Clark August 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I absolutely LOVE to Bake!!! Mostly, the dessert type dishes I bake, unfortunately, come from a box recipie or they are extremely simple recipies that I have found in magazines, handed down by family members, or I just won’t bake anything!! I have several expensive pieces of baking/cooking equipment, but unfortunately, since I know so little about baking, they are still in their boxes!! I know that if, after seeing your video and your passion for baking, that if I won a copy of your book, I could finally take all my appliances out of their boxes and begin to put smiles on the peoples faces that I could learn to bake for, including my family and myself!! Please help me get out of my boxed baking situation!!

    Thank you for sharing your video!! It has inspired me to get to baking!!!


  • Darolyn August 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I make ice cream often in the summertime! Yummy! But, never have made sherbet (contains dairy) nor sorbet (no dairy).


  • Grace August 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks for the interview and the recipe, looks like a great one to try in my hot and humid part of the world. The book looks absolutely delicious!


  • Heavenly Housewife August 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

    What a fabulous summer refreshment! I've been hearing so much about this book, I've got to get myself a copy!
    *kisses* HH


  • jess August 12, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Oh I will need to try the sherbet and sorbets! Seems like a snap compared to the custard preparation of ice creams. 🙂 Peaches are in season so maybe I'll substitute them for the strawberries…


  • Michele August 12, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Shebert and sorbet are similar in that they both contain pureed fruit or fruit jucies, sugar, and water. Sherbert is differnt because it usually also contains dairy, gelatin or egg.

    I’ve never made my own sorbet, but it is a great summer dessert by itself, with fresh berries & mint, or floating in a glass a glass of prosecco.


    btw – ty Joanne for such delicious treats! i’ve turned my friends and workmates on to Flour!


  • Gregory Davis August 12, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Sherbet is a great lower calorie dessert. I have seen other Flour videos and this one was great!


  • Ashley August 12, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I love ice cream all year round, but sherbet and sorbets both seem so summery! I use my ice cream maker often, but I've yet to try my hand at sherbet or sorbet. This lemon sherbet recipe might be just what I need!


  • Hanaa August 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I love to bake. Having said that, it doesn't happen often that I want to make every single recipe in the book. Flour is one of those books. It's very well-written, provides weight measurements for accuracy, and contains beautiful color photos. What's not to like? :o)


  • Hanaa August 12, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Btw, I have never made sherbet.


  • Kristen M. August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I make a lot of ice cream and I made a sorbet once but I have never (for some strange reason) made sherbet even though I love it. My most recent experiments are with lactose-free dairy (for a family member) which completely changes the sweetness. It might work better with a tart fruit sherbet like the lemon!


  • lucy s. August 14, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I have only made ice cream, but would love to try sherbet.


  • Jenny August 14, 2011 at 8:40 am

    My boyfriend got me an ice cream maker for my birthday last year (smart guy!) and I’ve been reading through recipes figuring out what to make. Lemon sherbet is so good, though I’d like to make something we can both eat (he’s lactose intolerant) — maybe some kind of coffee sorbet!


  • Melody August 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I've never made sherbet before, but I love it! I haven't yet ventured into the ice cream making area but it looks exciting!


  • susan c. August 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Flour has the best Belgian chocolate brownies in the world!


  • Misty August 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I've never made Sherbet, Sorbet, or Ice Cream before, but I do eat my fair share (as well as my fair share of Flour goodies since you've opened your Cambridge location!)


  • Christopher Nguyen August 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

    This is so inspiring! There is so much involved in baking and food in general, it is ridiculous. We see the presentation and we taste the different flavors but we don't exactly think about the technicalities involved which are equally as important. Actually, this could not have come at a better time. I am devising a plan to start a mini-bakery of some sort. First, baking easier recipes and seeing how people react to them. Then I will start selling them to my friends and family at college! Thanks so much for sharing! If you get a chance, I would love for you to check out my new food blog!



  • Christy August 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    This recipe for lemon sherbet sounds delicious!
    I would love to win a copy of the book!


  • Cupboard Love August 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Oh I love Prosecco – I'm always looking for new recipes that use it. This will go right up there with my favorite bellini recipe.


  • Peter August 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Christopher, you're our lucky cookbook winner for this week – congrats! And I see that you are a lucky person from clicking on your blog (i.e., you get to live in Boston and go to Flour and Myers + Chang!). Thanks to everyone for your fab posts.


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