Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Watermelon Sorbet--Fresh & Fruity for Food n' Flix: "Under the Tuscan Sun"

Newly divorced after finding out her husband was cheating on her, writer Frances Mayes is just existing in a gloomy temporary furnished apartment. Her friend Patti convinces Frances to go on the "gaycation" that she and her partner were going to take before Patti finds out she is pregnant. Reluctant at first, Frances soon finds herself traveling by bus through the Tuscan countryside. In a small town she sees a posting for a villa for sale and later that day, as the bus has to stop for a herd of crossing sheep, she finds herself in front of the same villa and sees it as a sign. After impulsively buying the house and hiring a group of Polish immigrants to fix it up, Frances also begins to rebuild her life in gorgeous Tuscany--making friends and even flirting at romance.

The movie version of "Under the Tuscan Sun" is based on the memoir of author Frances Mayes, and it brings the book to life with beautiful scenery that makes one long to find their own villa in the sun-dappled country side to escape to. It's a fun foodie film and this month's Food n' Flix selection, hosted by F n' F's founder, girlichef. I purchased the DVD of this film when it came out but had not watched it in quite some time. I forgot how much I enjoyed it and I ended up enchanted all over again.

The movie inspired me to pull out "Twelve: A Tuscan Cook Book" by Tessa Kiros, "Twelve" is full of drool-worthy food and when combined with the film made my imaginary trip to Tuscany complete. There were many dishes to choose from to represent the movie, but in thinking about what to enjoy on a sunny afternoon in Tuscany, I was drawn to the Sorbetto di Cocomero or Watermelon Sorbet. I have been craving watermelon lately and picked up a small, seedless one at the farmers market. I changed the sugar to agave and reduced the amount, ending up with a cool and delicious healthy treat. (My changes are in red below.)

Kiros says, "This is about the most refreshing thing that can happen to you on a hot day in August. Sorbets are difficult to make without an ice-cream machine. You can however, successfully make a granita-type dessert. If you have an ice-cream machine, pour the mixture in and follow the manufacturer's instructions."

Sorbetto di Cocomero (Watermelon Sorbet)
From "Twelve" by Tessa Kiros
(Makes about 6 cups)

750 g (1 lb 10 oz) skinned and deseeded watermelon (I used about 4 cups of melon)
300 g (10 1/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (replaced with 1/3 cup of agave syrup)
500 ml 92 cups) water (I omitted the water)
juice of 2 lemons

In a blender, puree the watermelon until completely smooth. Simmer the sugar with 250 ml (1 cup) of the water in a saucepan to just dissolve. Remove from the heat, mix in the remaining water, lemon juice and watermelon puree. Put into a plastic bowl, cover and put in the freezer.

After an hour or two, remove the bowl from the freezer and, using a fork or spoon, break down the ice crystals that have formed. Return the bowl to the freezer. Repeat after a couple more hours or until you have a soft, frozen slush.

Alternatively, pour the mixture into your ice-cream machine and freeze, following the manufacturer's instructions. (I added the watermelon, agave and lemon juice to my blender and blended it until it was smooth, poured it into my ice-cream machine and let it churn for about 35 minutes, then froze it for an hour or so to finish firming up)

Remove from the freezer to soften very slightly before serving.

Notes/Results: Lovely--cool, velvety and refreshing. I was a little afraid that the lemon would overpower the watermelon, but instead it brought the flavor out more. I found mine plenty sweet with the reduced amount of agave but you may need to add more depending on the sweetness of your watermelon. Bright and pretty, it's a perfect dessert or snack for a warm afternoon (you don't have to wait for a hot August day), a good way to welcome summer and get the ice-cream maker churning. Simple to prepare and oh-so-good, I will definitely make this again.

The deadline for "Under the Tuscan Sun" is May 30th, and girlichef will be rounding up the entries soon after. Or join me for June's Food n' Flix, when I'll be hosting "No Reservations" with Catherine Zeta-Jones and (yum!) Aaron Eckhart. Details on that are coming soon.


  1. Diane Lane is so beautiful. This sorbet sounds delicious and looks so perfectly velvety! Yum!

  2. Your sorbet is so perfectly bright and sunny and definitely screams Tuscany! I want to find that book, Twelve, too. Such a perfect pick, thanks so much for sending it in for Under the Tuscan sun w/ Food 'n Flix this month, Deb. Looking forward to watching No Reservations again, too =)

  3. I've had sorbet on my mind lately! I love this version with the watermelon. It screams refreshing!

  4. I Love that romantic (ad the house was great)

    I have made watermelon sorbet...I Love it..very refreshing on a hot day..

  5. Watermelon is one of those fruits that just screams summer and refreshment to me! This sorbet looks like quite the treat!

  6. Love the book (the movie was okay). Your watermelon sorbet would hit the spot right now as the mercury climbs upward toward 90!

  7. I loved this movie! The sorbet is beautiful, so perfect for summer!

  8. The color of your watermelon sorbet just jumps out to me! What a perfect cool treat to enjoy now that the weather is getting hotter here in the Carolinas. This was a fun Food 'n Flix movie to be a part of!

  9. Looks wonderful so I went into the kitchen and made a batch just now! I'll let you know how it turns out. :) I'm hardly waiting! :)

  10. I just made it the way you did (no water and with agave nectar) and it turned out great! It's so refreshing and I love that it has hardly any sweetener. Mine wasn't soft and creamy like a sorbet though. It was more of an Italian ice...a granita. That's not a problem for me. I just love the beautiful flavor! :)

  11. Oh, I have to make this... Watermelon has incredible cooling properties, and to have it as sorbet? Sheer delight on a spoon! Thanks for sharing this one Deb!


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)