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Nov 10, 2010 03:36 PM

Sweet Potato Sorbet

Does anyone have a basic recipe for sweet potato sorbet? The actual measurements aren't terribly important to me as I am quite accustomed to making sorbets. I am most interested in the method. I should also mention that my emphasis is on the sweet potato only and I do not want any citrus added to the flavor. This is to serve with either pumpkin or sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving.


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  1. I really can't think of any way to do it that wouldn't end up like frozen mashed sweet potatoes. But then I read your last line and wondered whether it would be too much of the same flavor, like chocolate ice cream on chocolate cream pie. My favorite pie-topping ice cream is David Debovitz's fennel ice cream. It basically just turns out like the very best vanilla you've ever had:

    4 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      Yes, good point about the flavor, however the differences in texture and temperature make for a very appealing combination. I'm thinking that perhaps the sweet potato flavor comes from a puree not necessarily derived from me mashing my own potatoes but more like an extract. I would however prefer to roast, bake, or steam the potato and make the puree myself if this is possible. I'm thinking the recipe would involve simple syrup, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, or some combination thereof in addition to the sweet potato (homemade puree or extract).

      1. re: Highland Park

        Did you google? I see a few ideas out there. They include some citrus, lemon juice, as pectin breakdown in the potato starch cell wall is inhibited in acidic environments and results in a smooth sorbet, rather than frozen glue. I don't think you need even a quarter as much juice as some of the formulas I saw called for.

        You don't need to extract anything, a puree will do, but I'd put the potatoes through a ricer or food mill, rather than a FP, so as not to release all the starch, which will result in a consistency similar to melted cheese. You can spice it anyway you like, either by infusing the spices in the simple syrup or adding ground to the sorbet. I think infusing is better. You get a cleaner looking sorbet. Roast your potatoes to maximize flavor. It's easier to rice or puree them when they're still hot, then chill well before proceding.

        Use your ice cream machine with sorbet instructions, and blend the puree, then freeze, well wrapped, periodically blending to break up any ice crystals and refreezing, until you get a nice smooth frozen product, 3 turns or so. You can make this by hand, if you don't have a machine. It just requires a bit more whipping.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          perhaps some sweet potato vodka can take the place of the citrus. If you live near a Korean community, the liquor stores nearby will probably stock it.

          1. re: weezycom

            I don't live very close, unfortunately, and I've never seen that product, but will have to seek it out. Good for cocktails or just cooking projects? Ideas/further comments?

    2. Make your simple syrup as your normally would with a fruit sorbet. Chill in the fridge.

      Peel and roast your sweet potatoes sprinkled with some brown sugar, helps with carmelization and deepens the potatot flavor. Cool and chill in the fridge.

      Then combine the simple syrup with your cooled, peeled sweet potatoes, and add whatever other spices you normally would for pumpkin pie -- ie. nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. I also like to add some mint, but that's purely personal preference. Then blend in a food processor until nice and smooth.

      Then follow the instructions on your ice cream machine for sorbets, or simply spread out the sweet potato mixture on a stainless steel baking sheet, covered with saran or plastic wrap, to freeze in the freezer. After frozen, remove, blend again, and repeat by freezing again on teh baking sheet. Do this at least 2 or 3 times and you should be good to go.

      I've done this with taro as well as Japanese purple yams.

      Good luck and hope this helps

      11 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Thanks a lot Bushwickgirl and ipsedixit. The potatoes have been roasted and riced, the simple syrup prepared, and the two are now cooling in the fridge. I will finish my dry run tomorrow with final assembly in the food processor and freezing and then make an assessment.

        1. re: Highland Park

          And I so want to hear the results! Very curious, may try.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            I've used this method to make taro sorbet with great results, even if I do say so myself. But then, I would be happy eating a leather shoe if it was stuffed with taro.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I actually made two versions, one technically not a sorbet. The first version I made I used the spiced sweet potatoes (nutmeg, cinnamon, pinch of cloves), simple syrup, and a bit of creme fraiche. It was quite good, but certainly not overly healthy. The only thing I didn't like about this version was the dry aftertaste from the creme fraiche, and I felt it was a bit fatty and dry. Maybe next time I use considerably less creme fraiche (I sued 4 oz creme fraiche to 8oz of potato.

              The second version was a classic sorbet, made only with the potatoes and simple syrup. This worked out well, but the yield was very small because the sugar content of the sweet potatoes alone was about 22%, thus mixture required very little simple syrup to get to the correct % sugar (I aim for 26-28%). I enjoyed the freshness of this version better than the first. Next time I will add some mineral water to the mixture, or make a weaker simple syrup maybe with 1/2 the sugar so that it requires twice as much simple syrup to get to the proper % sugar.

              Overall it was a success and I think I will go ahead with it for Thanksgiving.

              Thanks for all your help.

              1. re: Highland Park

                Good news, I 'm glad it worked out. Would you consider making a sweet potato gelato at some point? How did you ascertain the sugar content of the potatoes? Got a Brix tester? Serious inquiry.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Yes, I have a brix tester (refractometer). For sorbet, you need only a scale to 32%. For candy making, obviously much higher. I know a great source for getting one (cheaply too I might add). Its really the only fool-proof way of making sorbet, although tasting the puree is equally as important. I should add that the sweet potatoes I used were exceptionally sweet (they were actually from Costco), and they had an abnormally high brix reading. You will find the refractomter invaluable for testing quality of fruit prior to sorbet or ice cream making.

                  Yes, sweet potato gelato is certainly a possibility. That would definitely be more of a desert item in and of itself.

                  After this experience, I am leaning more toward serving this as an amuse with champagne just after we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, as opposed to my initial thought which was with desert.

                  1. re: Highland Park

                    What's your source? I may want to get one myself.

                    I would consider the sorbet more of an amuse than dessert as well, although it might pair well with a rich fruit or nut laden pastry.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      I'll find the guy's card at home and email you.

                      1. re: Highland Park

                        Excellent, and thanks for taking the time.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          I sent you the contact info using the email in your profile.

                          1. re: Highland Park

                            Veyr good, I'll check for it, thanks so much. Have a great holiday, and here's hoping your guests love your sorbet!