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Pastry Chef Dana Cree's Herbed Cider Sorbet with Pine Nut Cracker Jack

Herbed Cider Sorbet with Pine Nut Cracker Jack
Pastry Chef Dana Cree of Poppy – Seattle, WA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
April 2010
Yield: 16 Servings


Herbed Cider Sorbet:
250 grams sucrose
125 grams water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
5 bay laurel leaves
10 sprigs lemon thyme
1 stick Ceylon cinnamon
5 grams black peppercorns
5 grams cloves
3 whole star anise
40 grams fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 kilo apple cider
200 grams raw honey
5 grams citric acid
3 grams xanthan gum

Pine Nut Cracker Jack:
60 grams unpopped popcorn
250 grams toasted pine nuts
60 grams butter
160 grams brown sugar
130 grams corn syrup
5 grams salt


For the Herbed Cider Sorbet:
Bring the sucrose and water to a boil with the rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and star anise. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 1 hour.
Puree the ginger in a spice grinder with 50 grams of the apple cider. Strain out the pulp and mix the liquid with the honey and remaining cider and keep cold. Strain the chilled herb and spice syrup into the cider mixture and whisk together until even.
Transfer enough of the base into a blender cup to fill it ¾ of the way. With the blender running, shear in the xanthan gum by adding it very slowly into the vortex caused by the running blender. When all the xanthan has been added, let the blender run for 1 minute. 
Immediately whisk the xanthan-thickened portion of the sorbet base into the remaining base. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.
For the Pine Nut Cracker Jack:
Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Pop the popcorn. Transfer the popcorn and pine nuts to a Silpat-lined sheet pan and spread into a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a pot and heat to 240ºF degrees. Drizzle the cooked syrup over the preheated popcorn. Working quickly, stir the popcorn and pine nuts until coated evenly. 
Return the mixture to the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring at 10 minute intervals to continue coating. To test for doneness, remove a piece of Cracker Jack and let it cool. Remove finished Cracker Jack from the oven. Stir and break apart the clumps while still warm into small clusters and individual pieces.
To Assemble and Serve:
Serve a scoop of the cider sorbet covered with a scattering of the pine nut Cracker Jack.