Fruit Sorbets

Sunday March 13, 2016

I don’t own an electric ice-cream freezer, yet I adore homemade fresh fruit sorbets.             

Sorbet is the French word for sherbet, a smooth water ice said to be the first iced dessert in history.  You will see them offered on restaurant menus as Italian or fruit ices.  The mechanically churned sorbets are indeed fast and keep their smooth, delicate texture as long as overnight, but utilizing the food processor and freezing in airtight plastic storage containers no longer than 10 hours in advance, known as “still-freezing,” produces just as fine results with no fuss.  They are the perfect refreshing dessert for the calorie and cholesterol-conscious or as a finale to a substantial meal, ringing in at zero fat.

Refreshing fruit ices are simple and relatively quick to assemble from a wide variety of fruits. The beauty of sorbet lies in its simplicity: It’s basically just frozen water or juice sweetened with fruit, chocolate, liqueur, wine, or even fresh herbs. Unlike sherbet and ice cream, sorbet contains no dairy, making many of these recipes a good choice for anyone who is lactose intolerant or vegan.

Pulverized pulp purees are combined with a simple syrup, sugar cooked briefly with water, which contributes to the sweetness and the degree of creaminess in the finished frozen sorbet.  A small percentage of sugar syrup, as in traditional French sorbets, yields an icier texture, and a larger density of sugar, characteristic of Italian sorbetto, while taking longer to freeze, will yield a smoother one with more intense flavor. If milk or egg whites are added, a sorbet is transformed into a sherbert.  Sorbets are best served the day they are made as the flavors tend to weaken as the texture breaks down, becoming grainy or separating.

Williams-Sonoma cookware stores carry a variety of good-quality oval and round bowl-shaped metal scoops in different sizes to vary your presentation;  I use a size 50 round the most.  I like to make two or three different flavors, then mix and match pastel scoops on chilled salad-sized dessert plates or, for a dramatic presentation, in a wide-mouthed coupe champagne or margarita glass sprinkled with a complementary berry, or edged with a slice of kiwi or frozen persimmon.  A sprig of mint or scented geranium leaf, a borage flower, a nasturium flower, crushed amaretti cookies, or simply pureed berries splashed with a fruit liqueur further dresses them up.  Serve with a selection of beautiful homemade cookies or thin wedges of sponge cake, made in advance and stored in your freezer.

Fresh Fruit Sorbet

This will become one of your standard recipes after you make it for the first time; it’s a snap and extraordinarily delicious. A great way to use up over-ripe fruit! Be sure to make your simple syrup (recipe following) first to use chilled. If you like to make sorbets, keep a jar of the syrup in the fridge and you are good to go right away into the food processor.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh fruit, peeled, pitted (if necessary), and coarsely chopped, such as  mango, strawberry, kiwi, peaches, papaya, pears, plums, or honeydew melon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Sugar Syrup, depending on the sweetness of fruit (recipe following)

Instructions

Place fruit and lemon juice in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth.  Pour in the syrup, tasting to adjust sweetness, and process just to evenly blend.  Transfer to a medium-sized metal bowl or cake pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.  Allow to partially freeze; ice will form around the edge, but the center will be mushy, about 4 hours.  If the mixture freezes solid, let partially thaw at room temperature before proceeding.

Return the mixture to the processor and reprocess until it is completely blended, smooth, and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Immediately scrape the mixture into a plastic freezer container with an airtight lid and refreeze 4 to 10 hours.  Let soften at room temperature slightly before serving.  Makes about 1 quart, 6 to 8 servings.

The Best Watermelon Sorbet

Watermelon has gotten a new respect. No longer just picnic fare, it is in salads and all sorts of fruit salads. Here it is made into sorbet. This sorbet is a luscious pink with an almost tart flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups chopped, seeded watermelon pulp
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup Sugar Syrup (recipe following)

Instructions

Place fruit and lemon juice in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth; there will be about 2 1/2 cups.  Pour in the syrup, tasting to adjust sweetness, and process just to evenly blend.  Transfer to a medium-sized metal bowl or cake pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.  Allow to partially freeze; ice will form around the edge, but the center will be mushy, about 4 hours.  If the mixture freezes solid, let partially thaw at room temperature before proceeding.

Return the mixture to the processor and reprocess until it is completely blended, smooth, and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Immediately scrape the mixture into a plastic freezer container with an airtight lid and refreeze 4 to 10 hours.  Let soften at room temperature slightly before serving.  Makes about 1 quart, 6 to 8 servings.

parrot and fruit/frieda kahlo

Sugar Syrup

  • 2/3 cup organic granulated cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  As soon as the mixture comes to a rolling boil, remove the pan from the heat and cool completely before using.  Store in the refrigerator.  Makes enough for 1 batch of sorbet.  Can be doubled or tripled and kept in a jar in the refrigerator.

peach blossoms

All-Season Peach Sorbet

This method was developed by the Del Monte company.   It is very fast and very good.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15-16 ounces) peaches in heavy syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Ingredients

About 24 hours ahead, place the unopened cans of fruit in the freezer to freeze solid.  Remove the cans from the freezer and submerge in hot water for 1 minute.  Pour any thawed syrup into a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Slide the fruit out of the can and cut with a heavy knife into eighths.  Place the chunks into the food processor and add the extract.  Process until smooth.  Serve immediately or store in a plastic freezer container to firm up until ready to scoup out.  Serve sprinkled with toasted almonds.  Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Pear-Ginger Sorbet

Follow the above directions using 2 cans of pears in heavy syrup and 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger.  It is okay that the ginger will stay in small chunks.

Pina Colada Sorbet

Pineapple is a tropical plant that originally native to Paraguay and Brazil.

Fresh pineapples are in the produce section in abundance, have a lovely sweet flavor, and have gotten less expensive each year. Once the symbol of hospitality and a luxury fruit imported from the Indies and Hawaii, it is now an every day fruit. Canned pineapple takes a back seat to fresh. This pale yellow sorbet has a luxurious flavor and texture. For your next party.

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons golden rum
  • 2 tablespoons Triple Sec or Grand Marnier

Instructions

Place the pineapple in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth.  Transfer the puree to a plastic freezer container and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Mix until evenly combined.  Cover the container tightly and freeze 4 to 10 hours.  Let soften at room temperature slightly before serving.  Makes about 1 quart, 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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