Sunday, February 23, 2014

Raspberry Sorbet

A little departure from ice cream.  I've been discovering new sources of professional recipes for ice creams and sorbets, and I thought I'd try a couple of raspberry sorbets to see how different they were from the Cook's Illustrated one I made over the summer.

The big difference is really in the sugars.  These recipes use a combination of regular table sugar with dextrose and invert sugar aka trimoline, which is a syrup you can make yourself by boiling table sugar and water with a little cream of tartar.  It's like a better version of corn syrup with similar benefits for ice cream and sorbet.  I'll talk more about these in a future blog post, but the basic idea is that they both lower the freezing point of the mixture more than table sugar does, and dextrose is less sweet-tasting than table sugar, so you can use more of it.  This allows you to make a frozen dessert that stays soft and scoopable in the freezer.

That was really my only complaint about the Cook's Illustrated sorbet: it was hard as a rock, and needed to be left out to thaw for quite a while before you could scoop it.  Thawing it and re-freezing like that also added to the ice crystals, which mess up the texture.  Cook's also differed from the pro recipes by calling for pectin rather than commercial sorbet stabilizer, which is mostly gelatin.  Gelatin works great in sorbet, but I want to be able to make sorbet for my vegan friends, so pectin is very convenient for my purposes.

My first try here was with a recipe by Angelo Corvitto, the Italian ice cream god.  You can read what he says about sugar on his website.  I really liked his recipe, but I forgot to strain the seeds.  I don't like the seeds in it, although some of my tasters did.  It took a long time for this one to freeze, but that's the point of the dextrose.  I also used too much pectin on this try, so I halved it the next time.

My second try was a Michael Laiskonis recipe.  This one was very good as well, but a little too dense for my taste.  That's the one that these pictures are from.  It's possible I was off a bit because his recipe called for commercially prepared raspberry puree which I substituted with 90% frozen raspberries and 10% additional sugar.

Here's an adjusted version of the Corvitto recipe.  You can get dextrose (sometimes called glucose powder) at home brewing suppliers, natural food stores, or Kalustyan's.

Raspberry Sorbet Recipe

You need Sure-Jell Pectin for Low or No Sugar Recipes, in the pink box.  If you can't find that and you don't care about being vegan, you can use the same amount of gelatin instead.


  • 300g water
  • 128g dextrose
  • 79g sugar
  • 2g (1/2 tsp) Sure-Jell low-sugar pectin
  • 340g raspberries


  1. Mix the water and the dextrose and then heat to 104F.
  2. Add the pectin mixed with the sugar.
  3. Heat, stirring occasionally, to 185F.
  4. Remove from heat, cool to 104F, and then blend with frozen raspberries.
  5. Strain seeds!
  6. Refrigerate until fully cold, preferably overnight.
  7. Freeze in an ice cream maker, stopping when it reaches the texture of a thick smoothie.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet

My friend Suzanne hooked me up with some Meyer lemons, so I tried making a Sherbet with some buttermilk left over from my Meyer lemon bundt cake.  I started with a David Leibovitz recipe, but as usual I think he sacrifices some things in the name of simplicity.  His recipe came out bland and hard as a rock.  I melted it down and added corn syrup and some ice cream stabilizer to help fix the iciness, and more lemon juice to boost the flavor.  To be fair, he used regular lemons, not Meyers, so maybe he didn't need as much juice.

Mine still comes out crumbly.  I think it needs more solids, meaning either I could play with the types of sugar (pro sorbet recipes often use a powder made from dried sugar syrup known as atomized glucose) or add some powdered milk.  Powdered milk might wash out the tangy flavor though, which is really nice right now.

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet Recipe


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup juice and zest from 2-3 Meyer lemons
  • 86g sugar
  • 86g corn syrup
  • 1 tsp ice cream stabilizer (or you could use low-sugar pectin or gelatin, etc.)


  1. Heat buttermilk and corn syrup together to 104 F.
  2. Add stabilizer mixed with sugar, whisking vigorously.  Heat to 185 F.
  3. Remove from heat, transfer to ziploc bag, chill in ice bath until cool.
  4. Rest overnight in fridge.
  5. Add to ice cream maker and pour in lemon juice and zest after.
  6. Do not over-churn.  This is more like a sorbet than an ice cream, so it should be stopped on the early side, well before it gets fluffy.