Peaches are so nice an ripe right now and I wanted to try making some sorbet. Any hints?? Do I really need to invest in an ice cream maker? I've seen some recipies that sugguest that with sorbet (as opposed to ice cream) its not really necessary as long as you stir frequently.
I held out on getting an ice cream maker for the longest time, because I didn't want yet another kitchen appliance, but I finally caved - Bed, Bath, and Beyond had a 20% off coupon, bringing the price of the basic Cuisinart ice cream maker to $40. For me, at least, it really does make the entire process easier - the only thing to remember is to stick the freezing container in the freezer the day before to make sure it's properly frozen. I'm much more inclined to make sorbet (and ice cream) now than before, as I get too lazy to frequently stir the mixture. If you're only going to make sorbet once or twice, you probably don't need an ice cream maker. But if you think you might be inclined to make it more often, it's not a bad thing to have.
Sorbets are rarely more complicated than pureed ripe fruit and simple syrup. That's it - there's no reason to make it more difficult, and such a simple recipe really allows the fruit to shine. I sometimes like to infuse my simple syrups with herbs
With sorbets, the best trick I've used is to add a little vodka (or a complimentarily-flavored liquour) to the mixture before pouring it in the machine. It lowers the freezing point, and then makes it more scoopable after you put it in the freezer to further solidify it. I do usually use vodka, since it's colorless and flavorless, but when I made a blueberry sorbet I used creme de cassis, which was a nice touch.
Once I made a great sorbet by mistake. Same situation. The apricots were amazing. And I bought lbs of them...put them in the cuisinart and then in old fashioned ice trays. Yum, very good, although more like an ice than a sorbet.
i've made a few sorbets sans ice cream maker and as long as you have the proper proportions of sugar/alcohol to water you won't have a problem. it will be made that much easier by owning a blender or preferrably food processor.
when your liquid mixture is ready, pour it into a large dish so you have a shallow amount of mixture to freeze. every 45 minutes to 1 hour give it a good scrape and mix via a fork or whisk. after the 3rd go around, it should start to ressemble the consistency of sorbet, throw it into the food processor to create the even texture and then package away in preferred container.
you can see the consistency of mine here for a maple ginger concoction: http://tongueandcheek.ca/2006/07/29/s...
there are two (at least) schools of thought concerning the sweetening of the fruit puree. the more common is to use a simple syrup but then there is the just add granulated sugar (fine grain sugar, maybe) directly to the puree school. jacinthe mentions adding some vodka to slow down the freezing and improving the texture. using just the sugar and puree results in a nicer texture - the lack of any added water (simple syrup) means that it won't freeze as hard. maybe try them both and see which you prefer?
I was sitting there reading the paper the other day, while my wife was going through the pile of stuff we'd set aside, and all of a sudden she says, "Hey, didn't you say mangos are on sale now?" and flopped down an LA Times Wednesday Food section from several weeks ago, opened to an article about making sherbets/sorbets. The featured recipe was the author's favorite, mango, and yes, our favorite Latino market was selling mangos five for a dollar. So I bought a few, and they're just now ripe enough to use...and she just left town for the week!
I will try VERY hard to save her some...
re: Will Owen
I was going to ask about that - it was that issue of Saveur which made me run out and buy an ice cream machine. I made the peach ice cream from that issue, which turned out well (even with the inclusion of the neon orangey-pink soda that the recipe required), and bought mangos this weekend to try out that sorbet.
I like a French style classic sorbet and have been using the LENOTRE recipes that use a sugar syrup cooked to a certain degree. I add a TBS of liqueur as well for a smoother texture.
I have also made an outrageously delicious Honeydew Melon Sorbet by freezing cut up honey dew with sugar (or Splenda)and lime juice.Before serving, process in Cuuisinart adding two TBS Midori. It can also be made with sugar in an ice cream maker.
Thanks for all of the suggestsions. I am pleased to report that I made a sucessful batch of peach and basil sorbet and a batch of strawberry sorbet.
With the peach sorbet, I included some basil leaves in the simple syrup, which added a nice flavor that actually really brough out the "peachiness."
My one significant advance here was that I did not add liquor when I first froze the fruit puree. Rather I added it when I re-pureed after frozen once, which seemed to make the re-pureeing easier......