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Jun 21, 2010 01:03 PM

Lavender sorbet question

Back in the early 90s, I had a lavender sorbet while walking through the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC. It was quite wonderful; the lavender hit you more in the nose than on the tongue: light and fragrant.

A few times since then, I've tried to replicate it. However, the recipes I've come across call for adding lemon juice--presumably to counteract the sweetness of the large amount of sugar needed to prevent the sorbet from freezing into a solid block. As a result, the lemon taste overwhelms the lavender.

Any ideas about getting around this? I was considering dropping the lemon and replacing it with vodka (as an antifreeze). Any thoughts?

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  1. I think the vodka would cause it to become a slush rather than a sorbet. What about cutting the sugar with agave nectar?

    6 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      I'm with ChefJune on the vodka. But an equivalent amount of agave nectar that would keep the sorbet from freezing solid would actually result in a sweeter sorbet. Agave nectar contains proportionately more fructose in it, which is perceived as being sweeter than sucrose or glucose.

      I would just dial back the lemon juice and dial up the lavender. I've made several savory sorbets that used normal amounts of sugar, but had large amounts of other ingredients in them that were savory, that resulted in very nice, non-sweet tasting sorbets. The coldness of sorbet really blunts the perception of sweetness. That said, I'm not 100% sure that will work, if you're deadset on dialing back the acidity in your sorbet. The savory sorbets I've made were pretty acid-heavy - lime-basil sorbet, tomato sorbet, etc...

      Good luck.

      1. re: Indirect Heat

        It's not the acidity that I'm deadset on dialing back, it's the non-lavender flavor. I want it to be a *lavender* sorbet, not a lemon sorbet with lavender. The problem is that the lemon really hits the tongue, overwhelming the lavender. What's getting me is that the sorbet I'd had in the green market wasn't overly sweet--my sweet tooth is very small, so I tend to notice such (I've had many sorbets I've thought too sweet).

        As far as the vodka, wouldn't the slush issue be a matter of *how much* vodka is added?

        1. re: Scott_R

          I don't see anything wrong with adding a bit of vodka to soften it up. I even found a recipe that agrees:

          1. re: bluemoon4515

            Actually, that looks like one of the recipes I'd tried (or close to it). It tasted more lemony than lavendery.

            1. re: Scott_R

              More vodka, more lavender: less lemon, less sugar?

      2. re: ChefJune

        I've made sorbet and granité before and there isn't adequate vodka in any application to make it a vodka slushie (unless of course, it's an actual vodka sorbet one wants to make).

        You can cut back on the sweetness by decreasing the sugar, adding a little bit of lemon and a little bit of vodka. I guess you could also see what happens by substituting some of the sugar with isomalt, but this is something I haven't tried.

      3. Would it be possible to add more lavender rather than cutting back on sugar or lemon? Or would it be overwhelming then?