Favorite Recipes by Donna Hemans – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Donna Hemans who is celebrating the recent release of Tea for the Sea. Ask the author a question or leave a comment for her for a chance to win a copy of the book as well as a pack of specially blended tea created in honor of her book. Note: this giveaway is limited to the US only.

Favorite Recipes

For the last six or so summers, my two sisters and I have held an ice-cream competition that has now become an expected part of summer barbecues at my house. We each make a homemade ice-cream or frozen dessert and the guests select the winner. While it’s fun, we’re seriously competitive about our entries, going all out on presentation and finding ways to keep our flavors secret until the big reveal. One year, my younger sister made matching T-shirts for her and her young daughters. Another year she wore a hula skirt to match the tropical theme. There’s even a trophy that a cousin-in-law surprised us with one year.

Never a big fan of dairy, sorbets are what I like making best. The only year I won the competition, I made a strawberry and mango terrine with a hint of ginger in the mango. The flavors blended well together and on the plate the tropical colors stood out. Another favorite is plum sorbet.

Here’s the recipe for my winning entry, both from Serious Eats. I love cooking with ginger so I added a bit when pureeing the mango. To make the terrine, line your loaf pan with plastic wrap, then put a piece of parchment paper into pan, letting sides overhang the edges. Spread one layer of sorbet and smooth the top. Freeze until semi-frozen, about 20 minutes, and spread a layer of the second sorbet on top. If you still have a room a third layer.

Mango Sorbet
2 pounds ripe mangoes, peeled and diced, 4 1/2 to 5 cups
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste


Pack diced mangoes in blender with water and blend on high speed until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, pushing purée through strainer with a spoon, until you have 3 cups of purée. Reserve remainder for another use.

Transfer strained purée into a large bowl and whisk in sugar until well dissolved. Whisk in lime juice and salt in small increments, adding more to taste.

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Strawberry Sorbet

2 quarts strawberries, washed (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste


Remove tops from strawberries and purée in a blender or food processor until smooth. 2 quarts whole strawberries should yield 1 quart of purée. Add sugar and blend for 30 seconds. Add lemon and salt, blend to incorporate, and adjust to taste.

Strain purée and transfer to refrigerator; chill for 2 to 3 hours until very cold. Churn sorbet in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to freezer to firm up for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

A seventeen-year-old taken from her mother at birth; an Episcopal priest with a daughter whose face he cannot bear to see; a mother weary of searching for her lost child: Tea by the Sea is their story—that of a family uniting and unraveling. To find the daughter taken from her, Plum Valentine must find the child’s father who walked out of a hospital with the day-old baby girl without explanation. Seventeen years later, weary of her unfruitful search, Plum sees an article in a community newspaper with a photo of the man for whom she has spent half her life searching. He has become an Episcopal priest. Her plan: confront him and walk away with the daughter he took from her. From Brooklyn to the island of Jamaica, Tea by the Sea traces Plum’s circuitous route to find her daughter and how Plum’s and the priest’s love came apart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jamaican-born Donna Hemans is the author of the novel River Woman, winner of the 2003-4 Towson University Prize for Literature. TEA BY THE SEA, for which she won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature, is her second novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Caribbean Writer, Crab Orchard Review, Witness, and the anthology Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad, among others. She received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and an MFA from American University. She lives in Maryland.

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