Italian or French Sorbet

Italian or French Sorbet

Sorbet is one of those incredibly easy items to make (far easier than ice-cream) and so wonderfully refreshing be it as a palate cleanser, cooling afternoon snack or a simply dessert. Although generally sweet and made from fruit and fruit juices, many a fine-dining restaurant around the world have flipped the sorbet idea on its head making savoury and non-savoury sorbets from vegetables … I vividly remember being served a beetroot sorbet in the late 90’s and thinking gosh this tastes good.

Of course, the savoury versions are made with some minor variations to the recipe given below but the technique is generally the same be it a fruit or vegetable.

With an abundance of summer fruit around at present, why not give sorbets a go.

Makes – 500 grams approximately (20 single scoop serves)


1 cup water
1 cup sugar
250 ml / 250 grams – fresh or frozen fruit pieces or fruit juice
1 or 2 tablespoons of preferred alcohol/liqueur (optional)
1 egg white whisked and foamy (optional)


1. Begin by first preparing a sugar syrup liquid – place the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat gradually until all the sugar has dissolved. Then when fully dissolved raise the temperature of the pot and allow the liquid to bubble and boil for 5 minutes.

2. Remove the pot from the stove and allow it to cool completely.

3. Next prepare the fruit component of the sorbet.

a. For fruit juice based sorbets, simply squeeze your desired fruit until you have 250 mls, then combine with the cooled sugar syrup liquid.
b. For soft fruits (strawberries, raspberries, plums, peaches, mangos) – place the 250 grams of fruit and the cooled sugar syrup into a blender and blitz until you have a smooth, even liquid.
c. For semi-hard and hard fruits (apricots, cherries, persimmons, apples, pears) – place fruit and ¼ cup of water in a microwave proof bowl, cover with plastic film and zap for 3 to 4 minutes until fruit is soft (DO NOT OVER COOK THE FRUIT). Allow to cool and then place in blender with sugar syrup and blitz until smooth.

It is important to use ripe fruit where possible, so it has the maximum flavour.

4. Pour into a non-reactive metal container (not too large – a stainless steel 20cm cake tin is idea) and add any alcohol, liqueur or even vanilla extract (if used), stir through and place into the freezer for 45 minutes.

5. Every 45 minutes for a few hours take the container out of the freezer and break up any ice crystals that have form in the liquid with a fork and then return to the freezer. As more and more crystals form, the liquid will gradually turn into a solid but crumbly mass.

6. Once no liquid can be seen, you can give the sorbet one final mash and scope it into a lidded, plastic container to leave in the freezer until needed. Alternatively, you can add a well whisked egg white, mix it through the sorbet and give it a further 45-minute freeze before giving it a final mash and placing it into a plastic container to freeze – (this is French Sorbet).

7. When ready to use simply remove from freezer and scope into pre-chilled, individual containers, decorate and serve.

If you want light, fluffy and very smooth sorbet – give the sorbet mixture a blitz in a blender after its final solid stage … it adds air and pulverises the ice crystals into super fine pieces.

Italian Sorbet without an egg white will have a 6 – 8 week shelf life in the freezer.
French Sorbet with and egg white will have a 4 week shelf life in the freezer.

If adding alcohol/liqueur to the sorbet – be careful, as too much will prevent the sorbet from forming ice crystals and then freezing solid.

Alternatively, if you want the flavour of the alcohol/liqueur but not the alcohol content (ie for children), place it into the sugar syrup liquid 1 minute before it finishes boiling so the alcohol can be burnt off.

A few of my favourite sorbet flavours are:

Lime and Limoncello
Blood Orange
Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar
Mixed Berry
Blood Amber Plum and Amaretto
Roasted Peach and Bourbon

Let your imagination run wild – the combinations are endless.

Cheat’s Sorbet

1. If you are in a pinch, you can also make sorbet using a good quality home-made jam.
2. Simply mix 250 grams of jam with 250 ml of water and heat in a saucepan on a low heat until the jam is fully disbursed and a liquid.
3. Allow to cool to room temperature and blitz in a blender to make a smooth liquid.
4. Then proceed as for normal sorbet.

This process works because most home-made jams are a ratio of 50% fruit and 50% sugar. The end product it not as good as fresh but it will work. Try to stick to one fruit, jam flavours as they produce the best results and NEVER use commercial jams, the ratios are never 50/50.


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    • 2

      No worries Karin, it truly is one of the easiest things to make – even if it does require some waiting time. Also, it is probably better for you than ice-cream.

    • 4

      Yes, Viv you can use an ice-cream maker/churner if you like, some people also use a thermomix or similar kitchen aid. I simply prefer the old fashion method for sorbet and granita, as it doesn’t really require constant churning and you save on electricity costs.

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