On sweltering summer days, I get to thinking about island vacations and white sand beaches…because if the weather insists on being 100°F with the humidity, I’d like the option to cool off every 5 minutes in aqua oceans or tranquil pools. It’s only right. Recent island visions gave me cravings for island fruit. Although I have to admit, my first thought of fruit was in the frozen form with alcohol being consumed waterside with a standard drink umbrella. But being that I live in the city and it was around noon, I settled for sorbet.
Sorbet is so refreshing, cooling, and delightful on the palette, and I thought a mango version might be just what I needed. So I whipped some up, and while photographing it, looked around for a garnish. I only had basil on hand, so I used that. After the photo session, I tried the sorbet with the basil and it was AMAZING! When I told our chef about my discovery, he suggested I try Thai basil instead. So when I got home that day, I prepared another batch of sorbet, this time with the Thai basil. Oh. My. God. Unbelievable. The regular basil gave the mango’s sweetness some depth, but the Thai version added a slight spiciness. Not the kind that a hot pepper does, but the kind that a radish or ground anise lends to dishes.
I decided to experiment with shredded coconut the second time I made this recipe, as it supports the island vibe of this dessert. The coconut gives the sorbet texture, a little something for your teeth to chew on. If that’s not your thing, I would imagine some coconut extract would do the trick. While this sorbet won’t transport you to an idyllic island, it is a little piece of island heaven. The coconut must have made me a little cuckoo because somehow I forgot to take a picture of the finished product! (The sorbet pictured above is the batch I made with the Thai basil but no coconut.)
I made this recipe in a food processor, which created a soft sorbet, although on a hot day you’ll want to put it in the freezer for a bit before serving. Feel free to omit the coconut–it’s tasty without it too–and if you really don’t like basil, try some mint, although it will be a totally different experience. I stored the sorbet in a 32-ounce yogurt container. I thought it would take a long time to defrost when it was fully frozen, but I think in less than 10 minutes, it softened up nicely for scooping.
Mango Sorbet with Thai Basil
makes 4 cups or 32 ounces
1½ pounds mango (about 3-4 large mangoes), cut into cubes and frozen*
Thai basil – I used a small handful, but I suggest a few taste tests to get the right amount
Coconut water or filtered water
4 tablespoons shredded coconut, or some coconut extract
Add frozen mango and basil into a food processor. If you have a small food processor, as I do, divide the mango into two batches, otherwise the processor won’t chop properly. Once the second batch is chopped (with basil), add all the mango and basil together before introducing liquid. Process until mango bits stop moving around. Slowly add coconut water through the top of the processor until mixture moves easily. The sorbet should have the consistency of mashed potatoes. Add coconut and process until combined. Scoop into a freezer-safe container and freeze until ready to serve.
* First, cut the mangoes into cubes. Watch my video to see how. Don’t dump all the mango chunks into a freezer bag before storing in the freezer, it will become a big block of mango…that’s no good. To get the mango to freeze without sticking to each other, lay the mango cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet, and place in freezer until mango is frozen, at least 2 hours. Then you can store the mango cubes in a freezer bag until you’re ready to make the sorbet recipe.