tips on making citrus or water based sorbet
Hvaent made one in a while and i remember last time if it was a citrus sorbet it would freeze hard.
any pointers to decrease amount of ice crystals?
what is a safe water to sugar ratio?
I have seen some lebovits recipes with about 3 cups water to 3/4 sugar.
anyone have any success incorporating some Xanthan or other stabilizer?
I'm no expert on this, but have made a rosemary lemon sorbet from La Varenne Pratique. I don't know the ratios off hand, but the basic idea is make the syrup, infuse half with rosemary, half with lemon juice. Combine and then freeze. But how I freeze it is critical for texture - I need to blend it a couple of times with an immersion blender. Once would be after crystals have started to form, but it is still slushy. This should break up crystal, giving new seeds. The second would ideally be when nearly frozen, but still can be handled by the blender.
Invert sugar, honey, etc can prevent solid crystals from forming, but the result is different from the purely mechanical method.
Have often put a tablespoon of liqueur or spirit in. Citrus, I'd use vodka.
I've never had a problem with it freezing hard, but it may be your freezer's temperature.
There is also the egg test: pour sorbet into a tall container at least 8" deep. A raw egg should float and show a circle of about a nickel above the surface of the sorbet. Less than that, you might want to add more syrup.
I find that adding about 1 tablespoon of the highest proof vodka I can find ( amount will vary with proof of vodka) to the basic mix of sugar, water, and fruit (usually close to 4 cups total) takes care of the icing up problem. You can make the sorbet in the morning, serve it for dinner, and it will be fine. Otherwise, I can only make the sorbet 2 or 3 hours ahead for the right texture.
My basic formula is to first make a quick simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water, quickly boiled and cooled. You can substitute up to 1/4 of the sugar volume with corn syrup for a smoother texture.
Then you use fruit pulp/puree/juice equal to the original volume of the syrup ingredients (i.e. 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 2 cups fruit). Obviously this won't work with lemon, which would be too sour, so you'd dilute the lemon juice and probably add more sugar to taste. Add a tablespoon or two of vodka before churning to lower the freezing point and keep it softer after ripening.
When I made lemon sorbet and other citrus/water based sorbets in a professional kitchen i made them to taste. I used a hybrid of many methods and devised my own. I'd blend granulated sugar to make a very fine powdered sugar so it would dissolve easily. I'd have a large batch of this done ahead and would remove it from the blender so I could add it a bit at a time. Then I'd juice my lemons into the blender, add some water and some of the powdered sugar and blend on low, not causing too much froth. I'd taste, and when it tasted just a bit too sweet, I found it would create the best texture, and that the sweetness went down a notch when frozen allowing it to be perfect.
At first I didn't add anything other then that, and obviously the texture was not the best. Right away was beautiful, but it formed crystals when frozen. I tried a tiny bit of frothed egg white to combat this, and it did a bit, but I really didn't enjoy the texture when that froze. It was better, but I found it to be too airy.
Then I purchased xanthan gum and it was my saviour. for 2 litres of sorbet, I added maybe 1/8-1/4 of a teaspoon of xanthan and blended it in. Worked very very well. I wanted to play with more things, I had researched that a combination of guar and xanthan gum worked very well, but didn't have the chance.
I used xanthan in lemon, lime, orange, blood orange, campari, champagne, grape, and probably more that I can't remember.
xanthan worked great for me, and only requires a very small amount. I found it gave the best texture, and held the texture for a good amount of time before having to be rechurned.
Edit: if I remember correctly, I'd whisk the xanthan in a bowl with a tiny amount of the sorbet before blending it to help it become introduced to the liquid and not clump