Raspberry and amaretto is without a doubt one of the yummiest combinations for sorbet that I’ve made to date. The amaretto is the perfect blend of nutty and sweet to tackle the sour in the raspberries. Typically I would serve sorbet, if I wanted a light dessert – however… I told you a while ago that Chef Brewer and I had been auctioned off, at the Fundy Food Festival, to help raise money for the Saint John Boys and Girls Club. We offered to prepare a seven course Italian feast for eight dinner guests. Italian by Night owner Liz Rowe bought the groceries, server Fran Menton acted as sommelier and server and Andrew and I cooked. My raspberry amaretto sorbet didn’t win the dessert position on this menu. We used it as a palette cleanser!
Eating your way through seven courses may sound like a luxurious way to spend a Sunday evening but, if great care isn’t given to course selection and size, you could end up leaving the dinner table with gastro issues – not pretty! Having fed Ralph for the last twenty five years, I struggle constantly with portion control. I have a hard time remembering that not everyone has a six foot four frame to nourish! I’m digressing… Anyway, I wanted to make sure that our guests were able to enjoy the tour we had prepared without having to have an Alka Seltzer nightcap!
Instead of opening the evening with a selection of hors d’oeuvres, I stayed with Italian tradition. At a formal Italian dinner a simple offering of warmed almonds or olives would be passed with an aperitivi. We served olives marinated with citrus, garlic and a combination of herbs and spices with icy cold Prosecco. After our guests had a tour of the stunning harbour front penthouse, compliments of our hosts John and Gail Rocca, dinner was served.
I chose a decadent fruit and cheese combo to start. There were greens on the plate but really just so that I could call it a salad. It was all about the caramelized pears oozing over the slice of Gorgonzola Dolce. This is one of those dishes that inspire you to do a face plant on your plate. I knew from the ooh’s and aahh’s that I had a group of willing foodies. It was really exciting!
The primi piatto or first plate following the antipasta was duck lasagna. Whole ducks are slow roasted until the leg meat is falling off the bone – while carefully watching the breast meat. The meat is then used to create a sort of duck bolognese. I layered fresh pasta with fresh mozzarella and the duck sauce for the lasagna. We served small portions with a garnish of oven roasted Portobello mushrooms and fresh thyme.
Now for the star attraction. After the intensity of the blue cheese and the richness of the duck, I needed to settle everyone’s tastebuds down with a cool, tart tongue bath. In little tiny bowls with little tiny spoons, we served the sorbet. Everyone got a kick out of the Alice in Wonderland sized utensils which not only caused some lively laughter and conversation but provided an unanticipated but greatly appreciated dining pause. Andrew and I took our time plating the secondi piatto or the second plate and had some fun taking photographs.
The Cornish hens had been deboned and marinated in olive oil and lemon juice then roasted with a sprinkling of sea salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper and a crushing of dried red pepper chilies. To combat the heat of the ‘diavolo’, we served half an endive wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto baked in a Parmesan cream. I easily could have reduced the hen to half but as I said, “it’s a struggle!”
The pavlova is one of Italian by Night’s signature desserts and although it looks mamouth – cause it is – not a lick was left over.
We were not the only gig in town offering our service for a great cause. The foodies of Saint John united, stepped up to the stove and rocked it for the Saint |John Boys and Girls Club. A great event for a much greater organization. Thanks to all…
BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB DINNER
Spring greens tossed in white wine butter reduction and topped with caramelized pear and Gorgonzola slice
Roast duck lasagne topped with oven roasted Portobello mushrooms and fresh thyme
PIATTO DI MEZZO
Raspberry Amaretto Sorbet
Cornish Hen Diavolo
Endive Wrapped in Prosciutto finished with cream
Espresso and Dried Cranberry and Pistachio Contucci
Raspberry Amaretto Sorbet
5 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed if frozen 1 cup water 1 cup sugar ¼ cup amaretto
Place water and sugar in a medium pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the syrup into a medium bowl and add raspberries, stir in amaretto.
Allow to chill for 2 hours in refrigerator
Pass mixture through a food mill using the smallest disc
Pour raspberry puree into a 2-quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions until almost set but still a little slushy, about 25 minutes.
Decant into a freezer proof container and freeze.
THE LOVE: This sorbet is intense. Best to serve tiny amounts with little spoons!
Thanks for reading.