Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
May 17, 2012 06:34 AM

Sorbet won't freeze, I know where I went wrong.. Is it possible to fix it?

Hi there, I'm new to the discussion boards, I've been reading for a while but have never needed to post for any reason.. I'm currently making some sorbet (this recipe to be exact ) .. But after having the mix in the freezer to chill right down most of the night (after being in the fridge all day), and putting it in a fully frozen ice cream maker, it won't freeze at all. I'm assuming because of the invert sugar in the recipe.. Her's seemed to freeze, mine won't at all.

Is it possible I boiled the invert sugar mix too long? If so, is there any way I can recover the sorbet mix so I can still use it? I don't really want to toss it in the bin. Could I make another batch without using invert sugar and just use normal sugar and mix the two together? Would that be enough to counter act the effect of the invert sugar?

Or should I just toss it and call it a day? Kinda hoping there's a way to save it! Thanks a bunch :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't believe the invert sugar is the problem. People use it all the time as a stabilizer and to make ice cream/sorbet creamier.

    Can you tell us about your ice cream maker?

    Without knowing more, my guess is that your sugar to water ratio is off.

    The sugar in your sorbet mix helps to regulate the size of the ice crystals and also how firmly it freezes. Too little sugar, and you've got a frozen brick. Too much, and it won't freeze at all.

    Use this trick to test the liquid to sugar ratio in your sorbet mix. Wash a fresh egg very well. Dry it. Float it in your liquid. Some of the egg should float above the liquid. You want this area to be about the size of a dime to a nickel. If too much is sticking out, add some water to dilute the solution. If too little is sticking out, you need more sugar. In your case, add some more invert sugar. Once your liquid has passed the egg test, it's ready to chill, then churned into sorbet.

    Hope this helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      agreed, because of natural sugars in the various fruits, recipes don't always work so your sugar levels could definitely be off, i always taste mine and after a lot of practice am good at managing the sugar level, the egg test is a good test too.

    2. Doubtful the problem is with the sugar mix, as noted above. I use a similar syrup frequently and it freezes fine (although I usually only boil for about 5 minutes). More likely the problem is with your freezer core (assuming you are not using a self-contained, self-freezing unit). It must be frozen at 0F for minimum 24 hours. What is your freezer temp? You must have a good freezer thermometer.

      Which Ice Cream Maker are you using?

      6 Replies
      1. re: acgold7

        Thanks guys... It's definitely not the ice cream maker.. It's brand new, not a self contained but a bowl that's used with a mixer like a kitchen aid. It was frozen for more then 24 hours in the deep freeze. It's definitely the mix, I've had the mix sitting in the freezer in a zip lock bag over night but it's still a thick liquid.

        Given that it's obviously my sugar mix (and it's really not that I used all invert sugar mix, and no sugar mix with a little invert mix??), can I fix the mix by adding some more cooked pureed raspberries that haven't had any sugar syrup added? Or will this mess with it even more?

        If I do the egg test, do I need to do it at room temperature (heat the mix back up again because it's been in the freezer), or can I test it when it's cold?

        1. re: Leeny23

          if you lower the sugar ratio by adding more fruit it should fix the problem. Knowing how much it needs to be diluted is another ball game with out a saccharometer.

          1. re: chefj

            Thanks chefj .. I ended up doing just that before I seen your reply, I've been experimenting by doing the egg test, then putting it in the freezer after adjusting, adding a bit more water where needed.. It's finally freezing in the ziplock bag so I'll take that as a good sign! I'll try again with the ice cream maker this afternoon. Thanks for taking the time to reply :)

            1. re: Leeny23

              I hope you're right and that this solution works for you. Please let us know how it goes. But without knowing exactly what temp your freezer is -- and "deep freeze" doesn't tell us much -- we can't really rule that out. Looking at your recipe I think it actually already has *too much* fruit in it, not too little, and may actually have too little water. My standard recipe is two cups of pulp to one cup each of water and sugar (made into the syrup by boiling for five minutes, then cooled and blended with the pulp).

              The only reason I'm fixated on this is that it is almost always the reason the mix won't freeze well.

              You're obviously across the pond from us, so if your freezer workbowl isn't -18C or below, your sorbet won't freeze properly.

              1. re: acgold7

                I think you're right in that it was a combination of too much water and too much fruit.. Adding extra water seems to have done the trick so when I churn it tonight I'll definitely report back.. It's definitely not the freezer or the bowl, we have three freezers and I tried the upright on blast chill, as well as the other upright freezer and the deep freeze which is a big chest freezer.. Not sure on te exact temp but everything else has been freezing well in the bowl. It was just this sorbet.

                I'll soon see if it ends up working out.

              2. re: Leeny23

                Cheers, Hope it all worked out for you.

        2. Given that the recipe is just sweetened fruit puree, instead of trying to turn it into sorbet (which might involve spending more time and using more ingredients), why not mix it with lemon juice for a raspberry lemonade, or use it in homemade cocktails or something like that? It wouldn't be wasted that way, though not fixed per se.

          1 Reply
          1. re: limoen

            Because raspberry sorbet is a part of a dessert I'm making tomorrow night and is really like to rescue the mix, not save it for drinks no one will want :)

          2. Science to the rescue! Dissolving substances into water lowers the freezing point by an amount proportional to both the concentration of solute (sugar, salt, etc) AND the number of particles that the solute breaks into when dissolved. Because invert sugar is sucrose split into two (half glucose and half fructose), you have twice as many dissolved molecules for a given mass of sweetener compared to other recipes that use sucrose. So the freezing point was lowered by twice as much as usual.

            So you can either lower the temperature of your freezer (it WILL freeze if the temperature is cold enough) or add more liquid to dilute the sugar. You will need about twice as much of the non-sweetener ingredients as before. If you are interested in reading more about this, it's called freezing point depression and is also the reason we salt roads and sidewalks in the winter.

            1. Why fix it? Now it's granita! Even better!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Just Visiting

                No, granita has even less sugar than sorbet and should be light icy flakes, not syrupy slush.