Buttermilk is cool! – Pineapple Buttermilk Sherbet

July 14th, 2010 / Comments 11

The only way I like to drink milk is when it is whirled into a smooth, rich, chocolate shake. On the other hand, I’ve always liked buttermilk. Icy cold, in a tall glass topped with a pinch of salt, it’s a cool refreshing drink on a hot day

dark flowers c egbert Buttermilk is cool!    Pineapple Buttermilk Sherbet

Flowers for my Bubba

It was the grandmothers, the Babas, the Babcias and the Bubbas, who came to Pittsburgh from Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine, who were responsible for the presence of this favorite East European dairy product in nearly every kitchen in my childhood.

When is the last time you bought a quart of buttermilk? Is it the sour taste, the curdled smear that covers the inside of the glass as you sip it or the fear of drinking spoiled milk that turns you away? Buttermilk is a source of potassium, vitamin B12, calcium and phosphorus, is easier to digest than regular milk and has a quarter of the amount of fat of whole milk. I use it in marinades because the lactic acid in it is a tenderizer. It is the glue that holds the seasoned flour on chicken when I make Southern fried chicken, and buttermilk pancakes and biscuits fly off our breakfast table. If none of this convinces you to pick up a quart of buttermilk at the market, would the promise of cool, low fat, fruit sherbets do the trick?

pineapple c egbert Buttermilk is cool!    Pineapple Buttermilk SherbetWhether making ice cream, sherbet or sorbet, the process is the same. I begin with a base, for ice cream it’s a custard of heavy cream and eggs, for sherbet it is milk or buttermilk and for sorbet it is fruit juice or fruit purée combined with water. I add a sweetener to the base and flavoring like vanilla, chocolate or spices. Sweetened pieces of fruit, chocolate bits or chopped nuts are not added until the mixture is semi frozen. Air is the crucial and final ingredient. Without it, I would end up with a rock hard, flavored block of ice. When I’m freezing sherbet in a shallow pan, I use a fork to break up the ice crystals every thirty minutes as the base freezes. If I have forgotten, I used a blender to break up the icy chunks. My ice cream maker freezes and aerates at the same time. The first time I made pineapple sherbet I had two reasons, I was curious about how it would taste and even more curious about whether I could trick my sister into eating buttermilk. Here’s how I made it:

Pineapple Buttermilk Sherbet

I combined two cups of cold buttermilk with two thirds of a cup of sugar and stirred until the sugar was dissolved. I added one cup of drained, crushed pineapple, poured the mixture into a shallow metal cake pan, put the pan in the freezer and stirred it every half hour. In three hours it was ready to serve. My sister liked it, I didn’t mention buttermilk and she asked for a second serving.

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