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Sorbet: Tips, Techniques, Troubleshooting, and Recipes


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Hi,

In my recipes I like to add some glucose, dextrose, or inverted sugar to play a little on the sweet and dry/wet ratio of various fruits.

I make my syrup, blend it. Let it rest for 12 hours. Blend it with the fruit. And churn.

Do you use a stabilizer in your recipe?

May I suggest you visit the website of Angelo Corvitto who is a European well know glacier. I am sure you can find answers to some questions on the website or even on his pdf book

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Do you use a little bit of alcohol in your sorbets?

Because I make (not professionally, only at home) lots of sorbets using sugar, fruit/fruit juice, water and a small bit of alcohol and never run into that problem.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I make lots of sorbets. I use a simple syrup base and a refractometer to ensure proper levels of sugar. Lately, I've run into a problem that has me flummoxed.

Occasionally, my sorbets develop a rock-hard sugar crust in the freezer. It sometimes starts as round areas, other times in long narrow streaks. These then have to pried off to get to the sorbet beneath.

The problem seems unrelated to batches of simple syrup or to the time they've sat in the freezer. My batches of sorbets are small and they don't sit long. I have wondered if they might be caused when my staff dips the scoop in water before scooping, but if tat were the cause the problem would be more widespread than it is.

Have you encountered this problem or, better yet, solved it?

Barb

Have you tried posting this question in the home made icecream 2013 discussion? I follow it sporadically, but it seems that there are a lot of people with loads of frozen-dessert experience there. Good luck!

Do or do not. There is no try.

-Yoda

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks, everyone. I still haven't solved this, but I'm trying some of your suggestions, and I will post over in home made ice cream 2013 as well. I'm also beginning to track which flavors are afflicted. So far, it happens most often with my horchata, mamey con coco, kiwi vanilla, mojito, mole con naranja and cactus pear. It never seems to happen with blueberry-vanilla, mango-habanero, strawberry-habanero, raspberry, coconut-lime, blood orange, pomegranate, or chocolate. My gelati have no problems at all. I don't use alcohol in my sorbets, at least not these.

I'll let you all know if I find a solution (or even just a cause!).

Barb

Barb Cohan-Saavedra

Co-owner of Paloma Mexican Haute Cuisine, lawyer, jewelry designer, glass beadmaker, dessert-maker (I'm a lawyer who bakes, not a pastry chef), bookkeeper, payroll clerk and caffeine-addict

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There are all sorts of commercially available sorbet stabilizers that will both improve the sorbet texture as well as prevent large ice crystal formations. I've had great luck (non-professionally) adding a small amount of xanthan gum before churning.

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It just sounds like sugar crystalization. It's possible that the flavors causing trouble have enough naturally inverted sugar to prevent the issue. Not sure otherwise why you'd be getting it sometimes and not others, except maybe if your freezer is going through wider than normal temperature swings. If this were the case you'd expect to get a lot of iciness and not just sugar issues.

The easiest solution to sugar crystalizing is invert syrup.

For sorbets I aim for sugar in a ratio of 65% sucrose, 25% dextrose, and 10% trimoline. Total sugars are about 18% of the total mix. These percentages include sugar from any fruit ... so I use online tables to modify the added sugars depending on the fruit I'm using.

Stabilizers do a great job modifying textures and preventing iciness, but I don't if they're effective against sugar crystalization.

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 1 month later...

I made 4 bases last night (well, one is a frozen yogurt base)...

2013_07_10 Sorbet base.jpg

Clockwise from top left:

Fresh apricot/apry (Brizzard)

Banana/rum (Appleton) - with Russian kefir as the yogurt

Arnold Palmer with Four Roses bourbon

Strawberry mojito - Appleton again - I'm making popsicles with this one.

I've just churned the yogurt and it tasted pretty fine. The Palmer is in the machine, the popsicles are in the molds and the apricot will be next.

These are all totally uncooked, no stabilizers, just whizzed up in the Blendtec with sugar, lemon juice, booze (and always a pinch of salt).

Oh - the mint was not blended with the strawberries, but a chiffonade was added to the blended mix before going into the fridge.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 3 years later...

Has anyone got a reliably good recipe for green tea/matcha sorbet? I'm on the lookout for a recipe for a true sorbet (i.e. no dairy or dairy substitutes), and the green tea to be used is in powder form, but apart from that, there are no real restrictions (i.e. use of animal gelatine would not be a problem).

 

Thanks, all!

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I have this one:

 

350 g infusion (water)

150 g sugar

2 g stabilizer (simple locust bean gum works fine)

 

The reasoning behind it is pretty simple: sorbets work when the reading at the refractometer is within a certain window. The problem with fruits is that they have different solids content (sugars and so on), so you need to adapt each time basing on those values. With infusions it's much more simple, you just have water and sugar, so you can calculate it beforehand with a simple proportion. Stabilizer is highly suggested, otherwise you risk getting a grainy sorbet. Stabilizer ratio can vary depending on which one you are using.

I would suggest to make a stronger infusion than usual, since you must factor the cold and the sugar. I would say to use 50% more tea leaves than if you had to drink the standard tea.

With matcha tea just make the base syrup (with the stabilizer), add matcha tea to taste, blitzing with an immersion blender. Since you need really few grams of matcha it won't unbalance the recipe.

This recipe works for spice infusions as well, in this case it's better to make the syrup and add the spice to the boiling syrup just when you put it out of the flame. The aroma extraction in syrups is much better than in simple water.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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For sure it would work, since it's been used for a lot of time. But I don't have direct experience, never used pure gelatin as sorbet stabilizer, so I'm not sure about ratios. 2 g for a total of 500 g sound fine, but I would suggest you to make a comparison with some other recipes with gelatin ad stabilizer. I gave a quick look but unfortunately I don't have one. If you use gelatin for other sorbets / ice creams / gelatos then try using the same quantity as there.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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11 hours ago, Mjx said:

Thanks, Teo! Would gelatine work as a stabilizer? And if so, about the same amount?

 

Gelatin is a pretty good stabilizer. I used to use it in conjunction with xanthan gum (in a ratio of 3 parts gelatin to 1 part gum). This recipe has the advantage of using ingredients that are easy to find and use. It has the disadvantage of not having the very best stabilizing properties, and of not being vegetarian (some people order sorbet specifically to avoid animal products). 

 

I briefly discuss a more sophisticated sorbet stabilizer blend here. This is still a work in progress, but it's the product of some evolution and has been tested a few times. It gives a better texture than either the gelatin blend or locust bean gum alone.

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Notes from the underbelly

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@teonzo: Thank you; I've had no luck finding a reliable-looking matcha tea recipe (for comparison), and I know that certain plant enzymes have a significant effect on proteins (such as those in gelatin), so I'm a bit concerned that using a recipe for another flavour of sorbet may not be that reliable. Has this been your experience?

 

@paulraphael: Thank you for the link to that page! I'm pinning my hopes on gelatin, because it's the only certainly-available option here (in the currently tight timeframe, at any rate), and no one eating this is vegetarian. I may be able to get locust bean gum (which sounds like a good option, based on your discussion of it), but it's also much more expensive here than gelatin.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I'd be surprised if locust bean gum is more expensive than gelatin if you compensate for the quantities you actually use.

 

Another path is to just get a commercial sorbet stabilizer. These are blends and are pretty much guaranteed to work well. You just don't have much ability to tweak besides adjusting the quantity.

Notes from the underbelly

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15 hours ago, Mjx said:

@teonzo: Thank you; I've had no luck finding a reliable-looking matcha tea recipe (for comparison), and I know that certain plant enzymes have a significant effect on proteins (such as those in gelatin), so I'm a bit concerned that using a recipe for another flavour of sorbet may not be that reliable. Has this been your experience?

 

I've never seen any other recipe for matcha tea sorbet. Usually it's a dairy recipe (gelato, ice-cream, whatever, I always get lost with English terms for these things, I'm sure you understand since you speak Italian), most of the time with yolks. The recipe I wrote is one of my "creations", so it's most probable you won't find anything similar since I created it from scratch. My reasoning started from the Modernist Cuisine pistachio sorbet: sorbets let the main ingredient shine more, since there are no added flavours from dairy stuff and eggs. Balancing a nut recipe is difficult, due to the varied composition of the nuts. Balancing an infusion recipe is much easier, since it's just water plus some aromatics (you could make a water sorbet, as you can make a water pate de fruits, the only thing you will taste will be sweetness). In the same way I made a honey sorbet, mint sorbet, cinnamon sorbet... After trying this road I'm not going back, they taste more pure and clear.

 

About proteolytic enzymes dissolving gelatin, no need to worry with tea, they are not present in tea leaves. Even if they were, matcha tea is produced via steaming, so those enzymes would be deactivated by the temperatures reached during steaming. If you have an ingredient with proteolytic enzymes you just need to bring it to 100°C to deactivate them. I'm pretty sure tea leaves do not have them since I made a couple of tea mousses, starting from a cold infusion (tea leaves in water in the fridge for 24 hours), then I heated it to about 50°C to dissolve gelatin. If they had those enzymes those mousses would not have set. While they were not matcha teas but other teas, all of them are made from camelia sinensis.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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@ paulraphael and teonzo: Thanks again! Teo, the recipe came out really well, despite some challenges (including a scale that is a literal antique and a bit unreliable, and someone's casual assurance that the sorbet would stay frozen at cool room temperature, followed by a hasty refreezing). I haven't had matcha in any form before this, and I really enjoyed it; in fact, apart from small scoops somewhat reluctantly taken by a few others (including the hostess, who'd specially requested this), I ate nearly the entire batch :)

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Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Glad you liked it!

I would suggest you to give a try to some other matcha teas (I suppose you used a "cooking quality" one and not a top choice) and Japanese teas in general (sencha, gyokuro...). For drinking, not for sorbets eh. There are wonderful teas out there, pretty far from the supermarket teas we can find here in Europe. Only problem is their cost!

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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On 04/01/2017 at 7:13 PM, teonzo said:

Glad you liked it!

I would suggest you to give a try to some other matcha teas (I suppose you used a "cooking quality" one and not a top choice) and Japanese teas in general (sencha, gyokuro...). For drinking, not for sorbets eh. There are wonderful teas out there, pretty far from the supermarket teas we can find here in Europe. Only problem is their cost!

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

I didn't know cooking quality matcha existed. There were very few places where I could look for it, since I was in a small Danish town with a restricted selection of ingredients, so I was also really excited to track down locust bean gum at a pharmacy, and I'm quite certain the velvety texture of the sorbet was due to using it. Have you made this with black tea, too?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Well, you are lucky to have found matcha tea in a store, here I'm forced to buy it online (TeaWay from Italy, great selection, great customer service, tons of infos, in my experience the best food e-commerce in Italy).

There are various grades for matcha (as for every tea), "cooking" grade is the lowest one. Highest grade matcha teas are REALLY expensive, even cooking grade matcha tea is pretty expensive if compared to other ingredients, so when people need matcha for desserts then usually the choice is for the cooking grade. The difference in taste is subtle, it goes totally lost if you use matcha tea in a dough, a mousse or others, so it has no sense to spend huge money for subtlety when you are going to loose it. Probably you could taste a difference between a matcha sorbet prepared with top grade and another one prepared with cooking grade, since the sorbet is just water and sugar, no cream / flour / butter / eggs or other ingredients that cover subtleties, but I'm pretty sure the nuances would be muffled by the cold and the sugar.

If you are willing to spend top money for top matcha, then the wisest thing is to enjoy it in the traditional Japanese way (bamboo whisk and so on).

 

First time I made a tea sorbet was with a black tea actually, a Darjeeling one:

 

darjeeling_albicocche_mandorle.jpg

 

It's Darjeeling tea sorbet (top left, I hard froze the quenelle to have some time to take photos, so it lost the shine and got grainy), quartered apricots, almond crumble, apricot sauce and raw almonds.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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Sorry, I've never tried lapsang souchong in any dessert. It's one of the things I keep repeating myself from years, but still haven't done. When I order teas online (brick and mortar stores carry only industrial stuff like Lipton, sometimes you see a generic "green tea" which seems more like straw) first thing I do is surfing for the teas I want to drink. My preferences are towards oolong and sencha, so I spend an hour surfing those categories, forget abot the rest and make the order. I'll have to write a note on my nose to remember, since lapsang souchong, pu-er, assam and so on (even rooibos) have the potential for great results. I tried to make a praline (bon bon) with a pu-er ganache and figs pate de fruit, I was satisfied with the result, but I used a generic pu-er which was just average, pu-er world is so vast in aromas that the potential is great.

 

On a related note I made a tobacco sorbet, same technique (tobacco infused in water, then syrup). Taste was pretty clear, you could feel all the tobacco nuances, especially spiciness and smokiness. I would have to say it was even too strong. So if tobacco's smokiness did not get lost, then I assume lapsang souchong's won't neither.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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Tobacco sounds hardcore. The trouble I've had with Lapsang Souchong is the opposite of the smokiness getting lost. It's just been too assertive, at least in the couple of desserts I've tried it in. As a dry rub for meat, it's been amazing. I still love the idea of some kind of lapsang ice cream, just because I have such a long history enjoying that tea.

Notes from the underbelly

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