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When I was in France, I developed an annoying habit of saying “I just have to say…..” usually followed by things like, “This is the best rose’ I’ve ever had!” or “This cheese is really delicious!” So, I just have to say, the ice creams and sorbets in France were fabulous. What made them so special? For one, the French serve very small scoops, so one can easily order two or three flavors to enjoy. My favorite combination was cassis (black currant) sorbet and chocolate ice cream. I just have to say….yummmm!

In the way of “right things happening”–– while lazing on the day bed at La Maison d’être gite I browsed a magazine that had a feature recommending the latest in ice cream/sorbet makers. I decided I would buy one when I got home, so I could continue enjoying a wide variety of creamy, zesty and icy treats. As an added benefit, I could make ice creams using lower-fat lactose-free milk, less sugar, and our wonderful local fruits.

After some online research, I decided to buy a Cuisinart 2 qt ice cream maker. It came with mixed reviews: on the upside, fairly quick to make ice cream or sorbet once you have prepped and thoroughly chilled the mixture; on the downside, it’s noisy. By the time I made my third batch, I’ve become used to the noise.

My tips for using the Cuisinart maker. Freeze the bowl for at least 24 hours before using it. After making a batch, rinse and clean out the bowl, then freeze it again for 24 hours before you use it again. Likewise, make your ice cream or sorbet mixture the day before. It often involves heating sugar and liquid and this needs to be completely cooled before you make your dessert. Store your ice cream and sorbet in the freezer for a couple of hours to help it set up.

My third and fourth batches have turned out wonderfully, great texture and flavor. I’ve made cassis sorbet, strawberry ice cream, blueberry ice cream and lemon-pear sorbet. For the cassis and lemon-pear sorbet, I started with jams. After all, they are already sugar and fruit.

As a single person, how am I managing this abundance of sugary treats? This is a good problem to have! I’m making about 1 quart each time. They store well in the freezer. I eat a small bowl on evenings when it’s very hot and I’ve had a light dinner. Tomorrow I’ll take two quarts to a work retreat as my contribution to the potluck. And with each scoop, I get to recall a wonderful day in southern France!

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