I discovered a forgotten ice-cream maker in the basement last fall, and I've been making sorbets and granitas all winter and spring. (No ice cream because of cholesterol issues.) Since we're entering prime frozen-dessert season, I thought I would report on my successes - and failures - so far.
My basic recipe was simply juice or fruit whizzed in a food processor, sugar (or honey) to taste, and 2-4 Tbsp liqueur. I didn't want to use a sugar-water syrup, because I thought it would dilute the juice too much. And I generally skimp on the sugar because I like tart, intensely fruity sorbets. (And I don't mind chipping at an over-frozen mixture that didn't have enough sugar in it to freeze correctly.)
The very best was Caramelized Pineapple Sorbet. It was rich, fruity, intense, and surprisingly creamy. Only laziness has prevented me from making this every week. Here's my recipe for the mixture:
Caramelized Pineapple Sorbet
1 fresh pineapple, sliced and grilled (or broiled) until
slightly charred, then whizzed in the food processor
3 Tbsp brown sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Any juice from the pineapple
3 Tbsp dark rum
My second favorite was Pink Grapefruit-Honey Sorbet with Cointreau, made during the peak of grapefruit season. (This one is great as a granita, too.) It's simply fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, honey to taste (warmed in the microwave so it mixes well with the juice), and a splash of Cointreau. Wow! We made this one a lot.
Mr. Tastebud's favorite was the Cherry-Almond-Amaretto Sorbet, and it's so easy to make!
1 jar of pitted sour cherries in syrup (I used Zergut brand from Bulgaria)
1/4 cup cherry nectar (such as organic Bionatura brand)
1 - 2 tsp Toroni Almond Syrup (almond extract would work, too)
1/4 cup superfine sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp Amaretto
Another hit was Blood Orange Sorbet - simply juice and sugar. The sorbet was even better than the at-peak blood oranges were alone. But now the season is over, alas!
Another pleasant one was Banana-Rum Gelato, which was deliciously creamy and quite sweet without much fat or sugar. I found the recipe at A Spoonful of Sugar:
And I really liked my Blueberry-Chambord Sorbet, but Mr. Tastebud thought it was gritty and weird. I whizzed a bag of frozen blueberries, added sugar to taste and a few tablespoons of Chambord (French black raspberry liqueur). Next time, I'll add some blueberry juice and maybe strain out the blueberry stems and skins.
A weird one was Strawberry-Orange Ricotta Sorbet, from a recipe I made up. It had good ingredients - fresh strawberries cut up and marinated in balsamic vinegar and sugar, with the juice of an orange and a splash of Cointreau, plus half a container of skim-milk ricotta. The flavors were great, but the ricotta gave it an odd, bumpy texture. This one needs some tweeking (maybe no dairy next time, or vanilla yogurt).
I was not happy with my Lime-Honey-Rum Sorbet. I juiced a billion limes (maybe 10 or 12 tiny ones) and added honey to taste, but I ran out of honey before the juice was sweet enough, so I started adding sugar. And a splash of rum. Because of the insanely high sugar content, this stuff never froze, and it tasted too much of the dark honey I used. I think a sugar syrup would have been better for this one.
The worst: Buttermilk-Lemon Sorbet from Epicurious. I kinda liked it as a mini-scoop combined with another fruit sorbet, but Mr. Tastebud wouldn't eat it after the first bite. Perhaps it's because the ice cream maker didn't work (I didn't pre-chill the mixture), so it was grainy. But mostly we thought it tasted like a diet recipe that only works if you haven't had real ice cream for months. I'd like to try it again in the ice cream maker, but Mr. Tastebud says he won't eat it. (I think he's anti-buttermilk.)
Next, I think I'll make a green apple sorbet or use those mixed organic berries I have in the freezer. But I would love to hear your ideas and recipes for fruit sorbets. One snag: Mr. Tastebud hates melon and mango, and he's pretty leary of herbs in his sorbet (although I keep threatening to make something with tarragon).