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Jul 12, 2006 04:08 PM

Ice Cream/Sorbets

I am looking for general ice cream making principals. More specifically, ensuring that ice creams and sorbets are as smooth as possible when made at home. My green apple sorbet with calvados froze up to be rock solid and icy. Could this be due to taking it out of the maker too soon? Too little sugar? Please help!

The more in depth the advice, the better.

Many thanks.

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  1. I've been making alot of sorbets the past few weeks and I think the trick is a little bit of alcohol. Cooks's Illustrated recommends about a tablespoon of liquor, such as vodka (so it won't affect the taste) to make sure the sorbet doesn't get rock hard in the freezer.

    What was your recipe for the green apple sorbet? Too little sugar also changes the texture too...

    Added later:
    Ok, my bad. I didn't realize Calvados was apple brandy..hmm. I guess my recommendation is to post the recipe and then people can figure out what's off. Otherwise it's hard to tell what's causing the problem, as for me, alcohol usually solved the problem.

    1. My initial experience with the ice cream machine was that I always added too little sugar. I thought I could skimp and make a healthier product, but ended up learning that sugar is needed to keep the frozen treat from freezing solid.

      There's no way to tell you exactly when you should stop the machine. The consistency can actually be fairly soft (like a milkshake you can stand a spoon up in and barely suck with a straw) and still freeze up fairly soft.

      Also, perhaps more calvados? A shot of alcohol per quart is usually my upper limit, but if your sorbet is freezing solid add more and see if it helps.

      1. Making sure there's enough sugar is a good tip. Also you want to let the machine churn as long as it can to incorporate as much air as possible. Don't worry that if it's too airy it won't be like a really premium product. Surely, that's what commercial operations do but they're doing it to compensate for all the compromises they made with ingredients and you already used the best.

        Cutting back on the amount of salt in your brine will lower the temperature and get you more churning time. You *are* using a real ice and brine type freezer, no? They create much superior texture over the sealed coolant type and the dashers typically have a waffle-like design that aerates more effectively.

        And then a little bit of fat in the mixture also helps prevent iciness. Can you add a little cream?

        1. i was actually thinking of starting a similar thread. i'm trying to find information about general sorbet (only sorbet for me since i'm icecream maker-less) proportion principals.

          ie. amount of sugar to water?
          if using liquor/alcohol, how much would one sub for say 1tsp of sugar for similar results?

          or getting more specific. breaking up fruits into those with stones vs. cores vs. pits/fibrous pulp (i'd assume each category of fruit is likely to have similar water content) what kind of water ratio would be ideal?

          if i find something i'll report back, but most of what i've read have varying recipes that don't really speak for the flavour i ought to expect.

          in terms of your specific request, if it's too icy you'll either need more sugar, more alcohol or less water. you need to put in something that doesn't freeze easily.

          1. Agree w/ others that you probably needed more sugar. While it may be shocking to see how much actual sugar goes into sorbet/ice cream/gelato and then have the urge to reduce, sugar has an important role in enhancing texture.

            Sorbets that don't have much pulp but are mostly water-based get very hard and icy. You could try re-churning it or leaving it out to soften a bit. I prefer the texture of pulpy sorbets like strawberry and mango.

            When I was on my ice cream making binge last year, I loved going to the bookstore and flipping through every book on frozen desserts that I could find. Gave me some helpful foundation so that I could improvise and troubleshoot recipes more readily.

            With the new search system, search for "ice cream" or "gelato" or "sorbet" on this board and you should get some good tips. Good luck and please report back on your progress.