This is a very quick and easy dessert to accompany a barbeque, with all components that can be made well ahead. Ok, this is not a bake but it is nonetheless a joyful dish in its own right: simple, full of flavour and very refreshing. The sorbet can be made (it is quite easy and I have given the recipe for it), but you can use a good quality commercial sorbet.
I like a lot of fragrant, well-flavoured syrup with a fruit salad; not too sweet, with a sharpness from the fruits – almost a cold soup in its own right.
You can use whaterver fruit you want, and while I usually use fruit from the allotment when in season for fruit salads, I could not pass up some wonderful fruit that were on offer. Here I used pineapple, mango, passion fruit, red grapes and peaches.
Using fresh herbs and spices
There are a few simple twists in this fruit salad: fresh mint, fresh basil and a little chilli infused with the syrup, which work very well. . I sometimes like to add a little star anise (just snap off a piece), to give a subtle aniseed flavour, but restraint is the key as it can over-power.
The chilli in particular give a gentle kick behind the scenes without being shocking, and the mint adds that wonderful zing to proceedings.
And if you have never had basil in a sweet before, do try it: it adds a subtle depth of flavour. Together the mint, basil and chilli give what I think is a well-rounded, and more interesting syrup than just boiled sugar and water. And a little extra fresh mint mixed in at the end keeps things nicely pepped up.
Nothing gets wasted here: while the fruit flesh gets used in the salad itself, the trimmings from the pineapple and the mango (including the mango stone) get added to the syrup, along with a little lime zest.
Sorbet and fruit salad?
I love serving a vibrant sorbet (in terms of both colour and flavour) with a fruit salad. I tend to make sorbets in advance and use them as the mood takes me. However, a good quality commercial sorbet works well.
I made this particular sorbet a few weeks ago, using the last of the raspberries from the freezer from last year’s pickings, adding a little liquid glucose and a generous splash of rum to it before churning so that you don’t get solid ice! But remove the sorbet from the freezer for about 30 minutes or so before serving, leaving it in the fridge: this will soften it up enough to give easy, smooth scoops.
I often make up a larger quantity of the flavoured syrup for serving with the fruit salad: any extra can be used in the sorbet; or make up a quick sorbet by mixing it with sugar and fruit purée or pulp of choice.
Recipe: minted fruit salad with raspberry sorbet
- a selection of fresh fruit of choice – the riper, the better – chopped into chunks of preferred size.
- freshly chopped mint leaves
Syrup for the fruit:
- 200ml water
- 100ml caster sugar
- vanilla pod
- a few fresh mint leaves
- a few fresh basil leaves
- a little fresh chilli, chopped or crushed
- a little star anise, optional
- trimmings from the fruit: peel, stone etc…
- juice and grated zest of one lime
(1) Put all the syrup ingredients into a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Leave to cool, allowing the herbs and the chilli to infuse. Strain and chill until needed.
(2) Mix with the chopped fruit, more chopped mint leaves and serve with the sorbet.
- 400g fresh or frozen raspberries, blitzed and strained to remove the seeds
- finely grated zest and juice of one lime
- 200ml water
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon liquid glucose
- 3 tablespoons rum of choice (optional)
(1) Make a sugar syrup: put the water, lime zest and sugar in a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring gently to help dissolve the sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes until it has reduced a bit and is slightly syrupy. Stir in the liquid glucose and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool and then strain to remove the lime zest. NB: For maximum flavour, add the seeds from the strained rasperries to the water and sugar as you make the syrup and then sieve these at the end.
(2) Mix the cool syrup with the remaining ingredients and churn in an ice cream machine until thick and slushy: 30-40 minutes or so, depending on the machine. Transfer to the freezer until serving. Alternatively, put the mixture in a plastic container, place in the freezer and give it a good mix every hour or so for several hours.