Watermelon sorbet with lime & elderflower cordial


By Liesl van der Walt – Head gardener, Babylonstoren

Typical South African desserts often hero fresh local produce, no matter whether it is sweet, sticky and homely, or light, simple, delicious and cooling, such as this simple Watermelon Sorbet by Liesl van der Walt. Making the most of late summer bounty, this dessert is the perfect end to any alfresco feast.

As head gardener of the massive edible gardens at the beautiful Babylonstoren Farm near Franschhoek, Liesl lives out her knowledge and passion for gardening on a grand scale. She loves starring fresh and seasonal local produce in simple but utterly delicious recipes such as this refreshing Watermelon Sorbet.

‘Babylonstoren is, and continues to be a great journey for the team and me. We are incredibly proud to be part of a truly unique and special food garden in the heart of the Winelands’

Liesl van der Walt – Head gardener, Babylonstoren

Watermelon & lime sorbet with elderflower cordial

serves 2 – 4

For the sorbet

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups cubed watermelon, pips removed
  • 5 tbsp lime juice, or to taste
  • fresh mint leaves, to serve
  • extra watermelon, to serve

For elderflower cordial

  • 1 1/2 liters water
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 4 lemons
  • 10 big elderflower heads with buds that have opened fully (it’s best to cut these in the early morning)

Prepare 1-2 days ahead. To make the sorbet, put the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Blend watermelon roughly in a blender, then mix watermelon, sugar syrup and about 5 tablespoons of lime juice to taste. Place in the freezer until almost frozen solid, take out and liquidise again. Place in the freezer again and freeze overnight. Remove from freezer a short while before serving to allow sorbet to soften a bit. Enjoy with mint leaves and fresh watermelon, and a drizzle of elderflower cordial.

To make the cordial, boil the water and then remove from heat. Add the sugar while water is still hot and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool. Slice the lemons. Cut the elderflower from their stems and add, with the lemons, to the sugar water. Cover and allow to stand for 48 hours. Remove the lemon slices and elderflowers. Pour the cordial into a sterilised bottle with a lid and keep in the fridge. Enjoy diluted with sparkling water in a ratio of 1:3, or drizzled over sorbet.

Discover more South African desserts by local food heros.

This recipe is from The Great South African Cookbook a beautiful, proudly South African book that features the food locals love from 67 of SA’s finest cooks, chefs, bakers, farmers, foragers and local food heroes. It tells a feel-good story about the amazing food culture of the rainbow nation and celebrates food heroes from every province. Proceeds from sales of this book go to the Nelson Mandela Foundation toward the upliftment of disadvantaged communities through food sustainability and empowerment.
Publisher: Quivertree in association with PQ Blackwell | Photography: Toby Murphy

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