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Sorbet: Tips, Techniques, Recipes


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#1 col klink

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 08:29 PM

(I'm sorry if this has been covered before, but I couldn't find it by searching)

I'm trying to make a plum sorbet and I based my recipe off of the one in the cookbook that came with my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.

Initial recipe:

Lemon Sorbet
Simple syrup: 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water
1 1/2 lemon juice
2 tbsp lemon

I switched the lemon juice with 1 1/2 cups of plum wine (13% alcohol) and added 1 1/2 plums, processed. I know I have the ratio off because after 45 minutes twirling, the mixture hadn't set -- although it did taste good.

Do I need to boil off the alcohol first? or do I need to add sugar?

#2 tan319

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 08:56 PM

Too much alcohol, IMHO.

Reduce the plum wine, take the plums and process, strain into container.
Add syrup to plum puree and reduction. To cup of puree add 1 and 1/2 cup of syrup. Taste for balance, season with squeeze pf leom juice and a pinch of salt.
Spin in your machine.
Good luck.
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#3 nightscotsman

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 09:39 PM

Yep, way too much alkihawl.

The formulas we use at school allow for no more than 3% of the total recipe weight to be alcohol. Any more and it will not freeze properly and the texture will be compromized. So using that guidline, you should be able to use up to 25% plum wine in your final mix - by weight, of course. Adding sugar will cause it to freeze softer.

On the other had, we were using commercial ice cream machines, so I'm not sure if even 3% alcohol will work in the canister-in-the-freezer type things.

#4 Alex

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 06:22 AM

Yep, I agree with them other folks: too much hooch.

Cook's Illustrated recommends 1T vodka per 2 cups fruit (+ 2T lemon juice for plums). They also recommend that the sugar (1c for plums) be stirred directly into the puréed fruit for several minutes rather than using a simple syrup.

I've also found that the canister needs to sit in a freezer at 0°F or lower for best results.

Good luck! Plum sorbet sounds wonderful.
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#5 nightscotsman

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 07:50 AM

One other thing: is that a sweet plum wine you're using? If so, the extra sugar may also be keeping it from freezing. You might try a bit of dry red wine instead - maybe stew the plums in it with some spices? Just an idea.

#6 alanamoana

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Posted 30 October 2003 - 10:05 AM

i agree with nightscotsman,

the combination of too much sugar and the alcohol in the plum wine is keeping it from freezing. i would add the simple syrup only after mixing all the other ingredients...then use the simple syrup to adjust for flavor. if it is too strong (the plum wine) use some type of fruit juice that would complement the wine and achieve the result's you're looking for. without a sugar meter, if you're making sorbet bases...just take a raw egg (wash it first) and float it in your base. the higher it floats, the more sugar is in your mixture and the likelihood of it freezing goes down. you should see an area about the size of a dime floating on the surface. this isn't very technical, but it has worked for me and it is a hell of a lot cheaper than a sugar meter :biggrin: .

#7 col klink

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Posted 31 October 2003 - 08:15 AM

Thanks for your tips everyone. I wasn't able to try them out last night (I left the canister out on the counter too long :wacko:) but I'll be trying it tonight.

#8 col klink

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:46 PM

D'oh! I never got back on the results.

The egg trick works like a charm. I boiled the plum wine briefly (Gekkeikan) to drive off the alcohol and after cooling, measured the sugar content with a clean egg. I added hardly any simple syrup and it worked like a charm.

When I tried to repeat it however, I was running out of time and didn't wait for it to completely cool. I added even less simple syrup and when it was nearly done, I threw it in the freezer. Three hours later, what came out was a light and frothy semi-frozen mixture that I couldn't form into to balls. I was disappointed at first because I obviously coulldn't place the "sorbet" in a pool of plum wine but it worked out to my advantage. I placed a couple of scoops of frothy sorbet in with a couple of slices of pear slices marinated in plum wine and a sprig of mint. It turned out to be quite nice and different. Next time I'm adding some fresh fruit for a light and refreshing dessert (and more color for pete's sake).

#9 davidthomas8779

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 11:09 AM

I tried to search the forum for sorbet discussion, but all of my searches failed due to technical issues.

I'm considering making a sumac sorbet or ice cream. My concern is the ground sumac will be gritty, so I think that I'd need to do something with it so that I don't have to use the actual ground sumac in the sorbet. Is this something that I should steep in water and strain (and use the water) or is there some other appropriate technique that would work well? If the steep and strain method is the appropriate method, what do I do for ice cream?

#10 Marrow Margin

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 11:33 AM

Steep it in your base (simple syrup/additive) and then strain it through a cheesecloth lined chinois--about a million times.

#11 marinade

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 12:12 PM

You might try checking out there folks: TeaBagPaper Mountain Rose sells herbalist supplies including tea bag paper which will able you to infuse finely ground herbs or spices into your sugar syrup.
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#12 tryska

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 12:18 PM

you could try a double or triple layer cheesecloth sachet too, maybe?

i've used it with success before when making potions.

#13 davidthomas8779

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 12:24 PM

when making potions.

What kind of potions? Sounds vaguely Harry Potter.

#14 nightscotsman

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 01:23 PM

Or you could use coffee filters.

#15 tryska

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 01:56 PM

when making potions.

What kind of potions? Sounds vaguely Harry Potter.

haha - actually i've been nose-deep in the series for the past few months i guess it's been creeping into my daytime world.


actually i like playing with medicinal herbs and use cheesecloth for my tinctures and teas i brew that have various herbs in them. i actually got the idea from bouqet garnis.

also good for making herbal tub teas with juniper and lavendar and such for relaxing aromatherapy baths. :biggrin:

Edited by tryska, 17 February 2004 - 01:56 PM.


#16 ariggsby

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 01:14 PM

This is a pretty narrow question, but...

I had a chili sorbet at a local restaurant recently, and I thought I'd try to reproduce it. The first try was pretty simple: water, corn syrup, and ancho chili powder (steeped and strained). I got pretty good heat, but not a lot of chili flavor; I assume that if I just up the chili it will get too hot before it develops the fruitier flavors. Anybody have any thoughts about a better way to extract those?
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#17 tan319

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 02:31 PM

Rehydrate real anchos.
Puree and use it in your syrup?
Seems that powder would be grainy, even if strained.
Hope it was helpful.
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#18 Dave the Cook

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 03:08 PM

I'd try three things: rather than rehydrate them, I'd toast them for a few minutes, then grind. The toasting does a good job of bringing out the fruit.

Second, If you were using any fat, I'd recommend steeping in that, as the chili oils are fat-soluble, not water-soluble. (Maybe you'd consider ancho ice cream?) Instead, try steeping some toasted ground powder in a liqueur (see suggestions below), then filtering to remove the particles. Next to fat and water, alcohol is the best flavor vector there is.

Third, I'd look at adding other flavor components that match ancho, and might help to boost it: coffee, chocolate and raisin come to mind. Some of these are available as concentrates or cordials, so you could get by with small amounts.

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#19 KatieLoeb

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 03:21 PM

I'd try three things: rather than rehydrate them, I'd toast them for a few minutes, then grind. The toasting does a good job of bringing out the fruit.

Second, If you were using any fat, I'd recommend steeping in that, as the chili oils are fat-soluble, not water-soluble. (Maybe you'd consider ancho ice cream?) Instead, try steeping some toasted ground powder in a liqueur (see suggestions below), then filtering to remove the particles. Next to fat and water, alcohol is the best flavor vector there is.

Third, I'd look at adding other flavor components that match ancho, and might help to boost it: coffee, chocolate and raisin come to mind. Some of these are available as concentrates or cordials, so you could get by with small amounts.

These are all good suggestions. The toasting trick is one I learned from Chef Robert DelGrande of Cafe Annie fame. I called him when I was developing my Turkey-Black Bean-Chorizo chili recipe (it's in the eGRA HERE) and he explained a lot of interesting chile pepper factoids to me. One was the toasting process. Another was to either use fresh chiles OR dried chiles in a recipe, but not to mix the two. Another was to use the blender rather than the food processor to get better texture on my flavoring paste. This all makes more sense if you look at the sequence of techniques in the Chili recipe and read the blurb I included before the recipe.

I also created a recipe for a Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding that has cinnamon and Ancho as the main flavor components. Chocolate and chile is an awesome combination. :wub:

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#20 tan319

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 08:08 PM

Those were really solid suggestions, Dave.
I'm just wondering if the sorbet's only ingredient besides syrup was Ancho.
Seems a pretty straight forward item to use solo.
I always do toast my chiles before rehydrating, my bad for omitting.
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#21 Dave the Cook

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 08:21 PM

Thanks, Ted. I'm just guessing here, to be honest.

I had the same question about the ingedients, hence my suggestions. I have no qualms about supporting a main ingredient with other items that might not be mentioned in the name of the dish. The trick, especially with something as seemingly unequivocal as sorbet -- it's hard to hide supporting ingredients -- is to retain the appearance of purity, while still doing everything you can to boost flavor.

I've pureed anchos, but just for savory stuff, and when I found out about the toasting thing, I kind of forgot. I'm going to try a post-toast puree -- not in sorbet, but as an addition to chili, mole and an egg dish I keep fooling around with. Thanks.

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#22 fifi

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 08:38 PM

Zarela Martinez has a recipe for ancho based marinade that is now a family favorite. It is on page 273, "Chiapas Style Roast Pork" in Food From My Heart. It is worth buying the book for that one recipe, I swear. We use it for a lot more than a meat rub. There is always a jar in the fridge. In the inimitable words of my son... "Mom, this stuff would make dog crap taste wonderful."

The base is rehydrated dried anchos but there is ginger, allspice, sherry and a few other things in it. I have always thought that if you leave out the onion and garlic and add something sweet (simple syrup?) that it would make a killer dessert sauce. I haven't tried it but I intend to. You could play with the amount of ginger and spices, maybe add a touch of cinnamon. The texture as it sits is somewhat gelatinous (must be a bit of pectin in the peppers) so that would only add to the texture of a sorbet.
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#23 fifi

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 08:41 PM

I forgot to add, I am with Dave on the texture of powder. I think it would be gritty and I don't think you will get the full flavor with infusions. Rehydrated dried peppers develop a wonderful smooth texture when blended and you preserve all of the original complex flavor, which is considerable with anchos.
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#24 Dave the Cook

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:04 PM

Zarela Martinez has a recipe for ancho based marinade that is now a family favorite. It is on page 273, "Chiapas Style Roast Pork" in Food From My Heart. It is worth buying the book for that one recipe, I swear. We use it for a lot more than a meat rub. There is always a jar in the fridge. In the inimitable words of my son... "Mom, this stuff would make dog crap taste wonderful."

The base is rehydrated dried anchos but there is ginger, allspice, sherry and a few other things in it. I have always thought that if you leave out the onion and garlic and add something sweet (simple syrup?) that it would make a killer dessert sauce. I haven't tried it but I intend to. You could play with the amount of ginger and spices, maybe add a touch of cinnamon. The texture as it sits is somewhat gelatinous (must be a bit of pectin in the peppers) so that would only add to the texture of a sorbet.

Have you tried the dog crap thing? We've got this puppy, and . . . well, thanks for the book recommendation.

Cinnamon, ginger, and especially allspice are great ideas.

I'm not sure about pepper pectin, but it's worth some trial and error.

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#25 fifi

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:21 PM

I have wondered about the pectin thing. It comes out of the blender as a smooth paste. After a day or so in its jar in the fridge it "gels". When you scoop it out with a spoon, it holds its shape like a firm jelly. It holds its shape as it comes to room temperature. I was just figuring that there is some pectin in there somewhere or some other type of gum. The reason that seemed interesting for a sorbet is that commercial ice creams use those gums to get that smooth texture.

I checked Zarela's web site and it is not there so you are back to the book. That bright pink web page has me seeing green, though.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

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#26 tan319

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:42 PM

Rehydrated dried peppers develop a wonderful smooth texture when blended and you preserve all of the original complex flavor, which is considerable with anchos.

Na, Na, Na na na :biggrin:
Just kidding.
I used to make a bread pudding with chocolate bread, ancho puree that started from roasted, then rehydrated anchos, with chocolate custard made with brown sugar, cinnamon and toasted pinons.
It was yummy.
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#27 Dave the Cook

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:44 PM

. . . bread pudding with chocolate bread, ancho puree that started from roasted, then rehydrated anchos, with chocolate custard made with brown sugar, cinnamon and toasted pinons.
It was yummy.

fifi, do you, as I, ever wonder why SSBs spend a lot of time on the pastry threads? This is part of the reason.

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#28 fifi

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:57 PM

Actually, Dear Dave, I don't spend a lot of time on the pastry thread because I don't do sweets much. However, the SSB in me has often led me astray from time to time. And then, the mention of ancho in a thread title snaps my head back. Actually, someone has to explain all of this to the pastry guys. :raz:
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#29 Dave the Cook

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 10:21 PM

Actually, someone has to explain all of this to the pastry guys. :raz:

'zactly.

Though I've learned a lot from Ted and Steve and Michael and their peers. Pastry folks are the ones who most consistently push the envelope, in my experience.

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#30 tan319

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 06:31 AM

'Cause we're all messed up from being around sugar and such, all day long, every day.
Sorry...
Just kidding around.
I'm not going to ask what an SSB is .
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