Is it hard to make sorbet?


This simplest of frozen treats is VERY easily made with the help of an ice cream maker.

Don't have an ice cream maker? All you really need is a stove to boil up the syrup; a blender or food processor to purée the fruit; and a pan, a spoon, your freezer, and several hours of being on call to occasionally stir your gradually freezing sorbet.

So, enough with the small talk. Looking for an easy, refreshing summertime dessert? You've found it. Let's dive in.

Start by combining 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, without stirring. Remove the syrup from the heat, pour it into a bowl, and set in the refrigerator to cool.

When the syrup is cool, select your fruit. You'll want about 16 to 25 ounces of prepared fruit; about 3 3/4 to a generous 4 cups.

For the pale green sorbet pictured at the top of this blog, we'll use green(ish) fruits. Not unripe; just green-colored. Kiwi is bright green (with black seeds); pear and apple are cream-colored, and the final result is a mild-flavored, lovely pastel-green sorbet.

Select 2 large Granny  Smith apples; 1 large, ripe pear; and 2 to 3 ripe kiwi fruits.

Peel the apples and pear, slice them, and microwave till soft.

Peel the kiwis, and cut them into chunks, if necessary.

Place the fruit in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until fairly smooth, but not puréed.

Add the cooled sugar syrup and 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.

Pulse briefly, just to combine.

Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Overnight is fine.

Making sorbet with an ice cream maker? It's just SO easy....

Get your frozen canister out of the freezer.

Place it into the machine, and add the chilled purée.

Turn the machine on, and let it work for about 25 minutes...

...or until the sorbet is fairly solid.

Serve sorbet immediately, or scoop it into a container and “ripen” it for a couple of hours in the freezer to firm it up, if desired.

To make the sorbet by hand: Place the mixture in a shallow pan; an 8” x 8” square pan or 9” round cake pan are both good choices.

Place the pan in the freezer. There's no need to cover it.

After 2 hours, remove the sorbet from the freezer.

Use a fork or spoon to stir the slushy mixture around.

Bring the frozen edges into the center.

Smooth, and return to the freezer.

Continue to stir every hour or so, until the sorbet is nearly as firm as you like. This may be as little as 4 hours total, start to finish; or it may take longer, depending on the temperature of your freezer.

When the sorbet is uniformly icy (like a fairly solid slush drink), you can purée it in a food processor or using a hand blender, if you like; this will make a "creamier" sorbet. Place in a bowl, cover, and return to the freezer.

Sorbet should be ready to serve about 4 to 6 hours after you first put it into the freezer. Waiting a couple of hours beyond that will solidify it beyond scoopable. To serve beyond that window, allow sorbet to soften slightly at room temperature; this will only take about 10 minutes.

On the left, sorbet made in an ice cream maker. On the right, sorbet made by hand. The “by hand” sorbet is just slightly grainier; but clearly acceptable.

How about peach sorbet? Start with a 1-pound bag of frozen and thawed peaches; or 1 pound of peeled, sliced peaches. Purée the peaches with the cooled syrup and lemon or lime juice.

Freeze in your ice cream maker...

...or manually, using a pan and your refrigerator's freezer.


Does that look refreshing, or what?

And then there's raspberry: start with 1 pound frozen raspberries.

Why do I call for frozen peaches and frozen raspberries, rather than fresh? Because they're readily available, and inexpensive.

Certainly, if you have a surfeit of fresh, beautifully ripe fruit – use it! Your sorbet will be even tastier.

Filed Under: Recipes
PJ Hamel
The Author

About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, three dogs, and really good food!

View all posts by PJ Hamel