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Sorbet: Tips, Techniques, Troubleshooting, and Recipes

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Redcurrant

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!


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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gallery_7620_135_114479.jpg

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.historicfood.com/Georgian%20Ices.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 (log)

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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.

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Yesterday I made two highly successful (imo) sorbets.

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

gallery_6902_4825_43091.jpg

And the second was an Apple Strawberry...

gallery_6902_4825_27198.jpg

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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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.

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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 (log)

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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.

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


John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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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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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.

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

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

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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.


Mark A. Bauman

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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?


Torren O'Haire - Private Chef, FMSC Tablemaster, Culinary Scholar

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

Don't use too much stabilizer?

Make a "sorbet syrup" that's saturated with dry ingredient (glucose atomize, stabilizer, etc), then experiment with balancing that and simple or strong syrup with your puree, juice, etc. Its the simplest way to find the best results (unless you are provided a recipe that calls for the exact base you plan on using). Cremodan makes a perfectly reliable and easy to find "sorbet stabilizer", as far as that goes.

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I rarely use stabilizers or sorbet syrups in my sorbets.

I seem to only use a sorbet syrups when I'm making something with no fiber like a root beer sorbet or a orange sorbrt.

As Seth mentions, Cremodan makes a sorbet stabilizer and most of the time they have a "table" of fruits and recipes too but, to ensure good results 98% of the time you need a sugar densimeter, which measures in Baume or a refractometer that as already stated measures in Brix.

With the densimeter, I always go for 18 to 20 on it and I always get a creamy texture and the sorbet holds up in restaurant conditions very well.

Good luck on this!


2317/5000

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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?

I've mostly been making Pacojet sorbets recently (http://screamsorbet.com), but I have a few techniques that I think should work with standard methods as well. I haven't liked taste or texture of results with Xanthan or Guar gums (or products that use them like Cremodan), but I've had good results with Gelatin, Gellan, and Pectin.

I'd recommend starting with Pectin. You probably want an Amidated Citrus Pectin, also known as Pectin NH. I've tried several, and would recommend the CuisineTech Thermoreversible Citrus Pectin (http://thechefshack.com/products/tech.html).

I'll try to do a full writeup at some point, but the quick instructions are to mix 1 part of pectin to 4 parts of fine granulated sugar, and then sift into 15 parts of cool water while stirring. Bring to ~95C (just starting to boil), then blitz with an immersion blender. This makes a 5% 27.5 Brix pectin solution. While still hot (~70C) add this concentrated pectin to your room temperature or warmer pre-sweetened sorbet base while blitzing. If you add .175 of this solution by base weight, this should give you a .75% final pectin.

Gelatin also works well, but depending on who you are serving to you might not want add an animal product to an otherwise vegan dessert. Gellan works great with Pacojets, but I'm guessing that the more rigid gel might not come out as well with standard methods.

And as Tan319 says, you might not need stabilizers if you are using a lot of high pectin fruit solids.

Good luck with your experimentation!

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SUGAR-FREE SORBET? Help!

We have a customer who would like us to make a trio of sugar-free sorbets. Splenda is not allowed. But stevia, agave, palm sugar, or other more natural sweeteners are okay. Has anyone done this successfully? I thought I'd ask before plunging in head first and eyes closed.

Cheers,

Steve


Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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SUGAR-FREE SORBET? Help!

We have a customer who would like us to make a trio of sugar-free sorbets. Splenda is not allowed.  But stevia, agave, palm sugar, or other more natural sweeteners are okay. Has anyone done this successfully? I thought I'd ask before plunging in head first and eyes closed.

Cheers,

Steve

I would not recommend stevia as it adds a distinct grassy flavor that would be out of place in most sorbets (and, I think, is out of place in just about ANY dish). If you can use palm sugar, that's great and while it also has a flavor to it, it's not nearly as discordant as stevia's -- it's almost caramel-like. I'm surprised that palm sugar is okay but cane and beet sugar aren't, but if that's the case, that would be a good substitution.

--Josh

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SUGAR-FREE SORBET? Help!

We have a customer who would like us to make a trio of sugar-free sorbets. Splenda is not allowed.  But stevia, agave, palm sugar, or other more natural sweeteners are okay. Has anyone done this successfully? I thought I'd ask before plunging in head first and eyes closed.

Steve

We tried palm sugar. The simple syrup was about 30 Brix. For fruit we used some sour cherry puree we made up from last year's cherry crop (our area is famous for its cherries).

The result was a pretty creamy sorbet with a pronounced caramel-y flavor. The cherry fruit by itself cannot compete with the palm sugar. Perhaps something like raspberry might, but our customer wants mango and lemon too, and those are pretty mild flavors.

Back to the workbench.

Cheers,

Steve


Steve Smith

Glacier Country

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hi Steve,

Liquid nitrogen maybe? Or is that not practical...

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hi Steve,

Liquid nitrogen maybe? Or is that not practical...

The deposit on a tank would seem a bit impractical??? :unsure:


2317/5000

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