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paulraphael

A new approach to sorbet

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Posted (edited)

I've been working on sorbets since last summer, with what seemed like a humble goal: make them edible. 

 

The truth is, I'd never had good sorbet, even when made by the world's best pastry chefs. It's always been at least a little icy. It's always had a short texture. There's never been any creaminess. And it's always been mind-blowingly, pancreas-killingly, tooth-achingly sweet. I don't know how people eat it. These flaws are there for structural reasons. It's really hard to make a true sorbet with decent body and adequate freezing point depression without sweetness levels that could kill a bee. And it's hard to do creaminess without ... cream.

 

I still have work to do on watery fruits (watermelon) and very acidic ones (lemon). But for berries and pulpy fruits, this problem is solved. It requires a good number of unconventional ingredients, but if you like to wear your lab coat in the kitchen, and you have access to really good fruit, I think it's worth it.

 

The basic formula: 75% fruit, 25% science.

 

Strawberry recipe, with some explanation, here


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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Back in the 1980's, before Lyme disease was popular, my sons and I went raspberry picking at a local farm.  The quantity was overwhelming.  My teeth have never been amenable to raspberry seeds, and having the technology, I pureed and strained the raspberries, and relegated them to the refrigerator.

 

Unbeknownst to me my younger son had the idea to spin the puree in the Simac -- our resident ice cream maker at the time.  As far as I know, no added sugar.  I have not had better sorbet.

 

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That's interesting. I've honestly never thought about the short texture and lack of creaminess in most sorbets as a flaw. I just assumed that's what a sorbet is, a different critter than ice cream or sherbet. But I like that you decided that's not what it has to be and went after a solution. While my geekery cabinet is pretty solid, I'd still have to add a few things to be able to try your recipe. If the ingredients I'm missing are easy to find and not too expensive, I just might give it a go. Every now and then, I miss lab coat cooking. :D


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Thanks for sharing!

A minor correction: you wrote "This is why there’s no table sugar; it’s too sweet (although there’s plenty of it naturally present in all those strawberries).", there's almost no sucrose in strawberries (as written in a table down in your post).

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Unbeknownst to me my younger son had the idea to spin the puree in the Simac -- our resident ice cream maker at the time.  As far as I know, no added sugar.  I have not had better sorbet.

 

That's because he used parsley as secret ingredient.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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1 hour ago, Tri2Cook said:

That's interesting. I've honestly never thought about the short texture and lack of creaminess in most sorbets as a flaw. I just assumed that's what a sorbet is, a different critter than ice cream or sherbet. But I like that you decided that's not what it has to be and went after a solution. While my geekery cabinet is pretty solid, I'd still have to add a few things to be able to try your recipe. If the ingredients I'm missing are easy to find and not too expensive, I just might give it a go. Every now and then, I miss lab coat cooking. :D

 

I'm sure there's a range of preference regarding texture. You can adjust for more or less creaminess just by varying the amount of inulin. You shouldn't have to compensate by changing anything else.

 

The more important fix, in my opinion, is the sweetness. I just can't taste any subtleties, or enjoy anything, when it's as sweet as a 20% or 25% sugar solution. It just grosses me out.

 

I've tried Jo's approach of just spinning fruit puree. It's just too hard and icy for me. But at home we often take that minimalist approach even farther: we eat frozen berries, whole. It's refreshing and delicious. Just let them warm up to the point where they're soft enough to bite, and they literally melt in your mouth. It's not sorbet ... delicious, but different.

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Notes from the underbelly

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1 hour ago, teonzo said:

Thanks for sharing!

A minor correction: you wrote "This is why there’s no table sugar; it’s too sweet (although there’s plenty of it naturally present in all those strawberries).", there's almost no sucrose in strawberries (as written in a table down in your post).

 

That was a typo ... should be 1.2% sucrose. But you're still right, that's very little, even with 75% berries.


Notes from the underbelly

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2 hours ago, paulraphael said:

 

I'm sure there's a range of preference regarding texture. You can adjust for more or less creaminess just by varying the amount of inulin. You shouldn't have to compensate by changing anything else.

 

The more important fix, in my opinion, is the sweetness. I just can't taste any subtleties, or enjoy anything, when it's as sweet as a 20% or 25% sugar solution. It just grosses me out.

 

I've tried Jo's approach of just spinning fruit puree. It's just too hard and icy for me. But at home we often take that minimalist approach even farther: we eat frozen berries, whole. It's refreshing and delicious. Just let them warm up to the point where they're soft enough to bite, and they literally melt in your mouth. It's not sorbet ... delicious, but different.

 

Along those lines, I have once or twice pureed watermelon pulp and then frozen it in my ice cream maker. It probably wouldn't pass muster for you, but it was an easy and (to us) delicious version of a sorbet.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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43 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

Along those lines, I have once or twice pureed watermelon pulp and then frozen it in my ice cream maker. It probably wouldn't pass muster for you, but it was an easy and (to us) delicious version of a sorbet.

 

You can also cut watermelon into long pieces, freeze them, squeeze some lime over them, and enjoy natures perfect popsicles.

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Notes from the underbelly

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7 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

That's because he used parsley as secret ingredient.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

Parsley was the other son...this one is an even more picky eater.

 

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When dealing with wild berries it's important to remember that the sugars / solids content can vary quite a lot depending on the season. During some hot and dry summers I had to add water to wild mulberries and blackberries to be able to get a granita. Didn't try to make a sorbet, but I suspect I could go without adding sugars.

It depends on the machine people are using too: a Pacojet will render smooth even a stone (I'm exaggerating, please don't put stones in a Pacojet).

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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7 hours ago, paulraphael said:

I'm sure there's a range of preference regarding texture. You can adjust for more or less creaminess just by varying the amount of inulin. You shouldn't have to compensate by changing anything else.


I wouldn't say it's a preference, it's just what I thought a sorbet texture was supposed to be because it's what they pretty much always are. That doesn't mean it can't be better. Intensely fruity, not overly sweet with a creamy smooth texture sounds good to me. Looks like at least some of the ingredients I don't already have are available through Modernist Pantry, I haven't had time to do a thorough check yet.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, teonzo said:

When dealing with wild berries it's important to remember that the sugars / solids content can vary quite a lot depending on the season. During some hot and dry summers I had to add water to wild mulberries and blackberries to be able to get a granita. Didn't try to make a sorbet, but I suspect I could go without adding sugars.

 

Yeah, that's why for sorbets I've been using a refractometer. If the Brix of a berry is, say 50% higher than average, then you calculate the formula by multiplying the solids, the POD (sweetness), and the freezing point depression by 1.5. This would definitely change the balance of added sugars. 


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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So the trehalose is proving to be the only tough one. I can get everything else I don't already have in smallish quantities. I used to go for the bigger containers with specialty ingredients but not so much anymore. Looking at the large amount of lots of things I'll probably never use up I have sitting around has tempered that tendency. But we'll see if I can talk myself into it.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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1 hour ago, Tri2Cook said:

So the trehalose is proving to be the only tough one. I can get everything else I don't already have in smallish quantities. I used to go for the bigger containers with specialty ingredients but not so much anymore. Looking at the large amount of lots of things I'll probably never use up I have sitting around has tempered that tendency. But we'll see if I can talk myself into it.

 

My trehalose came from Cascade Analytical Reagents and Biochemicals.  But I am afraid they may be out of business.

 

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There are a few sellers on Amazon. I bought this version.

 

Also I asked Modernist Pantry if they'd consider carrying the handful of these ingredients that they don't already. They're looking into it. 


Notes from the underbelly

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15 hours ago, paulraphael said:

There are a few sellers on Amazon. I bought this version.


The best deal I've found so far for a Canadian source is 1/4 that amount for about 2x the price. Any better deals I found from the US either don't ship to Canada or charge enough to more than wipe out any savings with the shipping cost. 


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2019 at 4:54 PM, Tri2Cook said:


The best deal I've found so far for a Canadian source is 1/4 that amount for about 2x the price. Any better deals I found from the US either don't ship to Canada or charge enough to more than wipe out any savings with the shipping cost. 

 

That's annoying. I'm running into this kind of thing all the time when consulting people in other countries. Some ingredients that really don't seem all that exotic can be nearly impossible to find, unless you're shopping for industrial quantities. I'll come up with a version that doesn't use trehalose. It's an ingredient I don't bother with in ice cream because it's functionally very close to lactose, which is vital, and which makes up half of all the milk solids. But you can't really get away with putting milk solids in sorbet ...


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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49 minutes ago, paulraphael said:

I'll come up with a version that doesn't use trehalose.


Or I'll decide I'm curious enough to just go ahead and get it anyway. :D


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Try this, as a trehalose-free version. It's pretty close. Total solids are a bit lower.

 

(for 500g)

32g  Water        
375g Strawberry        
17g Inulin        
22g Dextrose        
38g Atomized Glucose DE40        
15g Erythritol        
1g CMC

0.5g guar

0.5g lambda carrageenan       
0.5g Salt        


Notes from the underbelly

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