Master Recipe for Sorbet
1 1/2 cups (375ml) fruit juice or pureed fruit
1 cup sugar syrup
1 tablespoon lemon/lime juice (optional), for tartness
1 tablespoon alcohol (optional), see notes
This recipe makes just under 1 litre/1 quart of sorbet and can easily be doubled
Put your fruit juice/puree in a jug or bowl and taste for natural sweetness. Add the lemon/lime juice & alcohol if using. Gradually add sugar syrup to the fruit until you achieve the desired sweetness. Remember the taste will dull slightly when freezing. Chill the mixture in the fridge.
When cold, add the mixture to an ice-cream machine and churn until frozen. Transfer to a container and store in the freezer.
If you do not have an ice-cream maker, place the mixture into a large shallow container, and freeze for 2-3 hours. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree (you do this to add air to the sorbet). Return the mixture to the container and place back in the freezer. Freeze until firm.
Using Sugar Syrup
Light Sugar Syrup - 2 parts water to 1 part caster (granulated) sugar
Heavy (Simple) Sugar Syrup - 1 part water to 1 part caster (granulated) sugar.
Light syrups are generally used for poaching fruit, and heavy syrups for making sorbet, but you can choose.
To make sugar syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Heat to a gentle boil and simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool and store covered in the fridge (preferably in glass).
Flavouring Syrups - To flavour the sugar syrup, you can add a vanilla bean, citrus zest, cinnamon sticks, aromatic herbs. Leave to infuse in the syrup then strain. You can leave the zest in when making sorbet.
Just Using Sugar
You can also make sorbet by adding sugar directly to the fruit juice. Gently heat just enough fruit juice to cover the sugar until sugar dissolves, then add it to the remaining fruit juice. David Lebovitz works on a ratio of 1 cup juice to 1/4 cup (50g) caster (granulated) sugar.
A Trio of Sorbets
Here are the fruit bases for the three sorbet's I made.
Mixed berry - 2 cups of mixed frozen berries pureed in the food processor with a couple of tablespoons of sugar syrup to make it more liquid. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds (a conical strainer really helps with this).
Mango & passion fruit - 1 mango (approx 500g/1lb) peeled and chopped then process in a food processor to a puree. Makes approx 1 cup puree. Add half a cup of passion fruit strained. It was a little too early for fresh passion fruit when I made this but a 170g/6oz can will give you approx 1/2 cup of juice.
Kiwi fruit - peel & chop 10 kiwi fruit. Process in a food processor with a little sugar syrup. Do not over process or the seeds can impart a bitterness.
This is the best bit. Once you have the hang of a basic sorbet, you can make it in so many different flavours.
Here are some flavours you can make:
- Kiwi Fruit
- Honey Dew melon (nice with a touch of fresh ginger)
- Grape (red or white grape juice)
- Lychee and Ginger
- Passion fruit
To save on washing up at Christmas time, why not serve the sorbet in cupcake liners. I bought these cupcake liners and the Christmas themed toothpicks at the discount shop for only a few dollars.
Alcohol does not freeze, so adding a small amount of alcohol to your sorbet will help to keep it soft. Vodka will perform this task without changing the flavour of the sorbet. Alternatively you can choose an alcohol that will add flavour. For example Cointreau in a citrus sorbet, Midori in a melon sorbet, or Marsala in a strawberry sorbet. Do not use alcohol if children will be eating the sorbet. Instead, to soften the sorbet just take it out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before you wish to serve it.
You can use honey in place of the sugar syrup. 1 cup sugar syrup is 3/4 cup of honey. This will affect the flavour and the way the sorbet freezes.
Resources - Heston explains the technical side of sorbet here
Commercially Prepared Sorbets
There are many commercially prepared sorbets available to buy. Most are fine, just read the labels.
They may contain vegetable gums such as 410 - Locust Bean/carob gum, 412 - Guar gum, and 415 - Xanthin gum, which are used as a thickener or stabiliser (see here), and food acid 330 - Citric acid (see here)