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Sorbet: Tips, Techniques, Recipes


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#211 nathanm

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 10:50 PM

Good suggestions. Basil oil ice cream sounds great and is exactly the sort of thing that I have wanted.

The interesting question with the pacojet is getting the the right combination of fats / oils and lowered freezing point so that you get an ice cream like texture as opposed to powder. I love the powders too, but it is a different sensation and different goal.

Good ice cream "design" means knowing the freezing point lowering due to sugars, the solds content (via nonfat dry milk) and the fat content. There is a lot of knowledge about this and good information for all of this in various sources. Ideally I would like to know what combinations of fat and other ingredients will make a ice cream like texture in paco jet versus a powder.

The suggestion of milk solids is a good one. That certainly helps some ice creams.

I'll try various stabilizers. However mostly stabilizers and gums are about what happens as the product warms up - they gel and hold it together. You can easily make a powder in the pacojet with a stabilizer in it - it just won't melt the same way as without. To get the ice cream texture you need the right mixture of fat and lower freezing point (I think).

In a machine other than a pacojet the story is a bit different. A mixture which would be a coarse granita in a conventional ice cream freezer will be a powder in the pacojet. However, by the time you have the right mix to get an ice cream texture it will probably funciton in both paco and not....
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#212 Sethro

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 12:39 AM

I've made savory sorbets in a batch freezer.

I used a barely detectable amount of glucose, which is about a third as sweet as sugar (about 100 grams to a quart) and a vegetable stock with high salt content.
Basically the veg stock is a trick to hide a lot of salt, which depresses the freezing point.

Corn Sorbet (for batch freezer)
3c white corn, pureed (and cob, removed before straining)
4 sprigs thyme
2c vegtable stock (salted)
1c water
1c buttermilk
1tsp butter extract
100g glucose
3g stabilizer

#213 weinoo

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 02:20 PM

Yesterday, to celebrate my joining the eGullet Society :smile: , I decided to make a couple of summer sorbets. I have this great primer on sorbets from an old issue of Cook's Illustrated (Aug., '95) and use that as a guideline for whatever fruit I find that looks and smells like it might be time to freeze!

Here are the sorbets still in their liquid state:

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And here, just coming out of the chill are honeydew and strawberry sorbets:

Posted Image

Posted Image

And finally, in the bowl:

Posted Image

They both tasted great, but were quite different texturally, the melon being light and airy, while the strawberry was dense and thick on the tongue. That can be seen in the way the scoops hold together - the honeydew doesn't. I need to play around a bit with the amount of water I use when pureeing the fruit...in this case, I didn't really add any water to the honeydew, while I used about 1/2 cup of water for the quart of strawberries (surprisingly tasty). They were both strained...I don't know if that helps the honeydew, but I think it makes for a much better sorbet when seedy fruits are used.

What are you freezing?
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#214 rlibkind

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 03:18 PM

Nothing like a straight fruit puree sorbet!

I've found the most important part of making sorbet (beyond the quality and ripeness of the fruit) is to have enough sugar. Too little and it lacks the smooth, creamy texture I seek. How much to add varies with the inherent sugar of the fruit. Given that honeydew doesn't have the sugar density of strawberries, I wonder if this was responsible for the less than ideal texture of your melon sorbet?

How did the honeydew sorbet taste? I would imagine the hardest part is picking out a good ripe melon.

A couple weeks ago I found some super ripe peaches that, because of their condition, I obtained at a very cheap price from a local farmer who sells at Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market. Only had to cut away a very minute portion of the fruit. The sorbet was just the fruit (put through a Foley) and sugar syrup (2 sugar : 1 water) to taste. Came out luscious.

Other fruits I've done with success over the past two years: cherries (both pie and sweet; I prefer the pie), blackberries, prickly pear, lemon, lime, orange. It's not a fruit, but cocoa makes killer chocolate sorbet; earlier this summer I added cocoa to pie cherry and it was astounding. Depending on the fruit, you might want to consider adding compatible spices on occasion, though pure fruit is still my go-to sorbet.

I've put blackberriers through a fine strainer, which is a pain, but I wonder if doing it with the Foley will keep the pesky seeds out? Anyone tried this?
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#215 Tri2Cook

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 04:24 PM

I recently did a honeydew and a cantaloupe sorbet. I actually made the melon purees for a cantaloupe sherbet and a honeydew sherbet that I did over the weekend but I had more melon than I needed and used the rest for sorbets. I used honey to sweeten them a bit because I think it works well with those melons and a bit of lemon juice to brighten them up and was very happy with the results. The local wild blueberries are still going strong, I have two gallon pails of them on the table right now, so I think I'll do that next.
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#216 Gabriel Lewis

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 06:48 PM

This summer I've done mango, passionfruit, cherimoya, coconut, rhubarb, and lime ginger. The hardest thing for me about fruit sorbets is that most of the time I find I have to make them too sweet in order to get the right consistency, or too intense if I try to balance the sweetness with acidity. This isn't a problem with pectin rich fruits like mexico, but it can be tricky for thinner, icier sorbets. I've been playing around a bit with glucose/honey/gelatin/pectin and all the other tools you can play around with for sorbets, but haven't done much since I lost access to the machine I was using. I am in the process of buying one; I hope to get around to some serious investigation at some point with a hydrometer and all those other tools.

I agree that if the fruit is good enough, little else is needed besides some sugar/acid to restore the balance of flavors if you're diluting. It can be nice to play around a bit though; spices, souring agents, citrus peels, alcohols, and fresh herbs make room for delicious creativity.

Spices I've tried or want to try: cardamom, fennel, star anise, black & white pepper, and cloves.
Herbs I've tried or want to try: pandanus, mint, coriander, thyme, lavender.

Ah I need to get a sorbetiere, so many possibilties; citrus zest infused simple syrups, alcoholic bitters, interesting citrus juices (bitter orange, meyer lemon, yuzu, kalamansi, etc).

#217 etalanian

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 07:31 PM

I've put blackberriers through a fine strainer, which is a pain, but I wonder if doing it with the Foley will keep the pesky seeds out? Anyone tried this?

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I've used a foley to remove seeds from blackberries. Works well, if you have the kind of foley that has several differently-sized strainers. I use the one with the smallest holes, and it works fine. I've found that the foleys that are all one piece don't work as well, because the holes are too large and the seeds get through.

Doesn't remove most of the seeds from red or black raspberries, however. I always end up using a drum strainer for that.

Eileen
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#218 weinoo

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 06:40 AM

Nothing like a straight fruit puree sorbet!

I've found the most important part of making sorbet (beyond the quality and ripeness of the fruit) is to have enough sugar. Too little and it lacks the smooth, creamy texture I seek. How much to add varies with the inherent sugar of the fruit. Given that honeydew doesn't have the sugar density of strawberries, I wonder if this was responsible for the less than ideal texture of your melon sorbet?

How did the honeydew sorbet taste? I would imagine the hardest part is picking out a good ripe melon.

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Absolutely true, as far as the sugar quantities go...that's what the article in that old Cook's Illustrated was all about...enough sugar (w/o becoming cloying) and using lemon juice to balance the sweetness.

According to the chart that accompanied the article, honeydew has a sugar content of 10% and strawberries have 7% (depending on ripeness, of course). The honeydew I used was almost overripe, imo, but I ended up with a much thinner puree than the strawberries, which almost certainly affected the final texture.

The taste of the honeydew sorbet is pure honeydew - almost surprisingly so, since I often have problems picking a good honeydew - when they smell great, they're usually too ripe!
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#219 flacoman

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 08:18 AM

OK! that does it , I'm grabbing the last of the black cherries!

#220 caseyell

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 09:23 AM

a few nights ago I had a fabulous Charentais melon sorbetto at la Posta, a wonderful little Italian restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA. Perfect ending for a summer meal

#221 michael_g

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 10:43 AM

The honeydew may be less dense because melons (and kiwis, and a few other fruits) have enzymes that break gelatin and pectin gels. Harold McGee says they're tough to use in a couple of things, but I can't remember if ice cream/sorbet was one. In any case, yours looks fantastic! I missed the market this week, but the Cuisinart will come out next week for some hot (?) fruit sorbet action. In the mean time...star anise perhaps?

#222 Smithy

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 12:22 PM

Y'all have given me another excuse to freeze fruit during the summer, and another use for those cherries I pitted and froze earlier. Thanks for the inspiration!

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#223 jackal10

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 01:04 PM

Redcurrant

#224 ludja

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 07:53 AM

Redcurrant

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This must have been a lovely color and quite bracing... Did you serve it with anything else or what is a palate cleanser between courses?


How wonderful to have enough red currants to make sorbet with it!
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#225 jackal10

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 08:43 AM

Posted Image

I remembered wrongly - it was white currant, and very lovely it was too.
Served with Summer Pudding.
Inspired by a reference here to http://www.historicf...orgian Ices.htm for a version of muscadine ice described as "the most spectacular ice of all time". Delicious, like frozen currants with a good balance of acid and sugar, but I would not go that far.

However I doubt the original having both elderflower and white currants in the same sorbet since they are not available at the same time, and the currant would swamp the elderflower, I guess you could use cordial. I tried some with cordial, and did not notice a lot of difference.

I used the proportions in Mc Gee's Curious cook for sweet water ices

I cup currant juice,
13Tbs sugar
1Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup water

Its been a good year for currants. One bush of white currants made about 3 pints of juice, enough for both jelly and sorbet.

Edited by jackal10, 24 August 2007 - 08:52 AM.


#226 Sethro

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 12:30 PM

Had a really awesome Black Plum on the menu at Perilla. I'd just pan roast the plums till they were bloody red, puree em and the recipe was 1 part plum : 1/2 part sorbet syrup : 1/4 part simple syrup + lemon juice and salt. The color was so outrageous I was oft accused of using coloring.
I was also running a really nice charentais melon one for a while.
Oh and buttered corn! That was awesome. Got some really sweet corn and this "butter essence". It was gooooood.

#227 weinoo

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 04:56 PM

Yesterday I made two highly successful (imo) sorbets.

The first I'm calling the Arnold Palmer...
Posted Image

And the second was an Apple Strawberry...
Posted Image

Both of these had just the texture I'm aiming for...since the fruit in the Apple Strawberry was so sweet (used Red Jacket Orchard Apple Strawberry Juice and 2 cut-up McIntoshes and some lemon juice and zest)), I was able to cut the sugar back a bit, to 3/4 cup sugar for around 2.5 cups of puree. It still had the creaminess I'm looking for.

The Arnold Palmer I made with a strongly brewed tea simple syrup, lemon juice and zest and a full cup of sugar - just right and delicious!

Sethro, that plum sounds great - do you puree through a mill or in a processor/blender. Peel the plums? Inquiring minds....
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#228 mukki

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 09:13 AM

Has anyone used a refractometer when making sorbets? From the Sweet Napa website:

...the key to a successful sorbet isn’t following the recipe to the letter, it’s about heeding the refractometer. It may be useful to see that a certain sorbet is made of a certain combination of pureed fruit/juice, sugar/simple syrup/honey/corn syrup, lemon juice, flavorings, and/or water, but what you really want to pay attention to are the consistency and the sweetness. It should be a saucy consistency or a little thinner, and the sorbet base should read between 26-28 Brix on the refractometer. The refractometer measures how much the light that passes through the sample of solution placed on it is refracted — the more sugar in the water, the greater the refraction will be, and the higher degrees Brix it’ll be. Between 26-28, the sorbet base will have the correct percentage of sucrose so that the sorbet will freeze without being icy or gummy/slushy. If it’s too icy, it doesn’t have enough sugar; if it’s too gummy/slushy, it has too much sugar and just can’t freeze. Since each piece of fruit is different, it’s best to take your own readings when making sorbet because there’s little guarantee that your fruit is the same as that of the recipe writer.

It's clearly not necessary, but sounds like it does away with the guessing game on how much sugar to use.

#229 HQAntithesis

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 09:47 AM

Has anyone used a refractometer when making sorbets? From the Sweet Napa website:

I got the chance to make sorbets last week at school and we tested it with a refractometer before pouring the mix in the machine, only we aimed for an optimum reading of 33. When it was too low we'd add some dextrose powder to increase it and when it was too high we'd add a little bit of water to descrease it.

It's a lot easier to have a consistent texture like this I guess, but I haven't any idea how different the textures would be if they had a refractometer reading of 30, for example, because all the mixes had virtually the same reading.

Edited by HQAntithesis, 02 September 2007 - 09:48 AM.


#230 Kerry Beal

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 10:25 AM

I do own a refractometer, but it covers the higher Brix range for candy making. Instead I have used the directions given by Madeline Kaman in "The New Making of a Cook" where she takes an clean egg (in the shell) and floats it in the sorbet. If it floats showing a bit somewhere between the size of a dime and a quarter then the specific gravity is perfect.

#231 John DePaula

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 10:46 AM

I made a sorbet of Pear-William + Charentais Melon. Wow, the flavors are wonderful together!
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#232 weinoo

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 12:30 PM

I made a sorbet of Pear-William + Charentais Melon.  Wow, the flavors are wonderful together!

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That sounds good, John! What, no pic?!
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#233 Busboy

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 01:14 PM

Everybody else is way more precise about the sugar thing than I am -- I just preee and strain the fruit and simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) until it tastes just a little too sweet (or honey or whatever if I'm frisky). But, what I would toss out is the idea that a smidge of something sour or bitter tends to, IMHO, bring out the fruit flavor. So, with strawberries I'll put in a dribble or two of balsamic vinegar, and I hit mangoes with a squeeze of lime. Citrus fruits get a touch of herb: grapefruit and thyme, for example.

Just a thought. Happy summer -- glorious, ain't it?. :laugh:
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#234 caseyell

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 12:40 PM

I've been making granitas more often than sorbets ever since researching Italian-style ices for a SF Chronicle article that ran a couple weeks ago. Bi-Rite Creamery's recipe for Wtermelon-Lie granita has been a big hit, but I particularly loved their recipe for Lemon-Mint-Vodka.
Great texture.

#235 Sethro

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 12:37 AM

Sethro, that plum sounds great - do you puree through a mill or in a processor/blender.  Peel the plums? Inquiring minds....

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I roast em skins on and puree em in a vitaprep.

#236 markabauman

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 07:47 AM

I made a cranberry/orange sorbet for Thanksgiving. Very tasty, but my official taste tester didn't like it that there were some small seeds in it. Would anyone know if you can thaw the sorbet (probably in the refrigerator)- then I would sieve it- and then refreeze? Thanks.
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#237 weinoo

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 07:55 AM

I believe it will be okay if you refreeze in your sorbet/ice cream machine.
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#238 rlibkind

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 08:09 AM

For safety's sake, just thaw in the refrigerator. Refreezing in your ice cream/sorbet maker works just fine.
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#239 markabauman

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 08:30 AM

Thanks to both of you for a quick response. Will give it a try. Got to keep her happy!
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#240 LoneSavant

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 11:24 AM

I've become an avid ice cream maker, and have gotten pretty damned good at it, if i do say so myself... Now the problem is shifting the ice cream talents over to no-cream.

There's a whole topic on making ice cream, but the more I find, the more the art of sorbet becomes something different. I'm searching for a silky, smooth, intense dessert, however unlike my silken ice creams, I dont have use of egg yolks, lecithin, etc.

Anyone have any tips/techniques?
Gelatine/Xanthan Gum?
Cooked sugars?

How can I avoid watery flavor and gritty texture, without a slick, weird, off-tasting effect from too many stabilizers?
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