Pomegranate Sorbet with Vodka

Traditional Persian sorbet (Faloodeh) is made with vermicelli and rose water and eaten with lime juice; it has to be said that it tastes quite strange to the uninitiated. Once again we’ve taken Persian ingredients and blended them into an apparently ‘authentic’, albeit non-existent, dish.

Vodka, just so you know, is as much an Iranian drink as it is Russian; it is usually consumed in ‘shot’ form as an aperitif, with a dish of salted yoghurt and cucumber. It goes without saying that this is another recipe that you can cook a week or so ahead.

Right, so on your shopping list you will need:

  • 1lb castor sugar
  • 4-6 large Iranian pomegranates * (or use half a carton of Iranian pom.juice ‘n reduce the sugar)
  • 6 tablespoonsful vodka
  • Juice of 2 lemons + the rind of one
  • 12 baby Persian ‘zabon’ (pastry tongues) *
  • 1 pint water (but you probably have this in your tap already)

* denotes available at Persepolis

Apron on? Off we go…

Place the sugar and water and lemon rind in a pan and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for five minutes, adding in the vodka at the last minute. Set aside and allow to cool for at least one hour.

The best way to get the juice out of a pomegranate is to knead it all round with your thumbs until it feels quite liquidised inside; then make a small hole in the skin and squeeze it into a bowl. It is hard work as each fruit will take you 5 mins or so – best to bully someone into helping you. And remember – pomegranate stains…

Stir the lemon and pomegranate juice into the cooled syrup, pour into a freezerproof container and freeze until firm. Serve between two zabon (pastry tongues), garnished with cucumber slices, mint and individual pearls of pomegranate.

Serves 6