In 1984, when he was just nineteen, Jon Snyder founded Ciao Bella in a New York City’s Little Italy. In 2002, thirteen years after selling it, he opened Il Laboratorio del Gelato, a “custom lab” where he makes ice creams and sorbets for other chefs. He avoids using eggs in fruit-flavored ice creams because he wants the fruit to dominate. For this blueberry sorbet, he strains only some of the mixture, which ensures a richly colored dessert.
Blueberry Sorbet and Ice Cream with Brown Sugar Cookies
For the sorbet:
1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) granulated sugar
4 cups (1 lb./500 g) blueberries
For the ice cream:
2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) half-and-half
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. peach or apricot jam
2 1/2 cups (10 oz./310 g) blueberries
For the cookies:
1 cup (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 oz./ 220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. turbinado or demerara sugar
To make the sorbet, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer the sugar syrup to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
Place the blueberries and 2 Tbs. of the chilled syrup in a blender or food processor and puree thoroughly. Reserve 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) of the blueberry mixture. Strain the remainder through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the mixture with the back of a spoon. Add the reserved blueberry mixture and the remaining syrup and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm.
To make the ice cream, in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, half-and-half, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and jam. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves, 10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the custard to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate overnight.
Place 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) of the blueberries in a freezer-safe container and freeze until just firm, about 1 hour. Remove from the freezer and chop the berries coarsely, roughly quartering them. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with the 1 tsp. granulated sugar, and set aside. Place the remaining 2 cups (8 oz./250 g)
blueberries in a blender or food processor and puree thoroughly. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the mixture with the back of a spoon. Add the chilled custard and chopped frozen blueberries, and stir to combine. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm.
To make the cookies, preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, using and electric mixer on high speed, cream the butter with the brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the vanilla. In another bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter mixture and, with the mixer on low speed, mix until the flour is no longer visible and the dough is smooth.
Dust your hands with flour. Scoop up 1 Tbs. of dough and roll between your hands to form a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat to form the remaining cookies, placing them at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each dough ball into a disk 1/3 inch (9 mm) thick. Sprinkle the cookies generously with the turbinado sugar. Bake until the cookies are slightly crusty to the touch and the bottoms are golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Place scoops of the sorbet and ice cream in a dessert bowl. Serve with the cookies. Makes 1 qt. (1 l) each sorbet and ice cream, and 30 cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World: New York