Sorbets are the oldest types of frozen desserts and, at least in regards to ingredients, the simplest.
The major difference between the sorbets and ice cream/gelato is lack of any dairy products. Another ingredient that is missing from sorbets is the air. It gets incorporated during mixing and freezing ice cream/gelato, in much the same way as whipping air into cream to make whipped cream and beating egg whites to make meringue.
Overrun is a technical term that refers to the quantity of air that is whipped into the mixture for ice cream and can reach astonishing values. For example, overrun of 80% means that of 1 gallon of the mixture we get 1.8 gallons of finished ice cream. This air makes ice cream smooth and creamy but decreases the intensity of the flavor.
Sorbets consist of water, sweeteners (sugar, honey, etc.) and flavoring (usually fruit juice or fruit purée but almost anything can be used). Such short list of ingredients is a challenge for preparation, it’s necessary to strike the perfect balance. There are few things that are important for a good sorbet.
The first thing is how ripe is the fruit. It’s best to use fruit that is well overripe. If you use fruit that’s still good enough for eating raw, then once you add sugar and water, not much flavor will come through. Just like when you make a banana smoothie, for the best flavor you really need to use banana when the skin has turned black, as the fruit will be very sweet and soft.
The second is how much fruit to use. We can not use same quantities of lemons, raspberries and peaches for example, it mostly depends on how strong is the flavor of each fruit so we adjust the amount accordingly.
How much sugar is contained in fruits and how much sugar in total we need is another important factor. Besides the obvious that it makes everything sweeter sugar also acts as an antifreeze, so the higher the sugar content, the softer the sorbet will be at freezing temperatures.
Lemon is probably the most popular flavor of sorbet and the most difficult to master. One of the reasons is that you are in essence trying to turn water (lemon juice is practically acidic water), which wants to become solid frozen block, into a creamy, smooth sorbet.
Because of that, in this recipe besides sugar we also use honey. Honey has stronger anti freezing effect than sugar so it will soften the texture, also flavors of honey and lemon go excellently with one another.
Another reason why the lemon sorbet is so tricky is is that the fruit varies greatly in the amount of juice, acidity and the sweetness. That’s why the mixing of lemon juice and sugar-honey syrup must be done carefully, a little at a time, until you have a true lemon flavor that is not too tart.
So, enough with the small talk, let’s make some perfect sorbet. I must worn you, this isn’t a recipe for the fastest sorbet but it is for perfect sorbet. 🙂
Juice and zest a few lemons
and make the syrup from sugar, honey and water ( you really need a candy termometar and kitchen scale)
Chill the syrup,mix it with lemon juice and place in a fridge for four hours. Put the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers instruction. If you don’t have ice cream maker pop the mixture into the freezer for a minimum four hours and you are ready to go.
- 16.9 oz water
- 6.2 oz sugar
- 3.9 oz acacia honey
- 8.3 oz lemon juice
- Place the water in a double boiler over a medium heat.
- When the water reaches 104°F, add sugar and honey and bring the mixture up to 149°F, whisking constantly.
- Transfer the mixture to a stainless steel bowl and place in an ice bath and let it cool down to 104°F. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in the freezer, stirring every 10 minutes or so until the mixture reaches 39.2° F.
- Then remove it from the freezer and add the lemon juice and blend it using a stick blender.
- The mixture then has to be aged in the fridge for 4 hours.
- Take out the mixture from the refrigerator and blend again for 1 minute using a stick blender.
- Put the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers instruction.
- Scoop out the sorbet and immediately place it in the freezer.
- It’s best to serve sorbet within 2-3 hours or when it reaches 10°F, if cooled below 5°F it may become too hard.
- If you don’t have ice cream maker pop the chilled mixture into the freezer for a minimum four hours and you are ready to go