Sorbet, that creamy, frozen dessert that I describe as sherbet without the cow’s milk, is one of my favorite non-diary treats. I’ve been experimenting with various flavors with delicious success, including mango, strawberry, peach, grapefruit, pomegranate and hibiscus. Most recently, I made pear sorbet. I had a taste for something sweet and refreshing, I looked up and saw some almost-too-ripe pears on the counter and had plenty of raw sugar in a canister. And though I did not have any fresh lemons, I substituted 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice and was amazed at the depth that resulted.
To add even more interest, I’ve been known to use a slither of pepper, including jalapeno, habanera, or one of the green or red ones from the African Pepper Plant outside my front door. I’m careful to add just enough pepper to create a kick in the back of the throat as the cold, creamy, sweet, and surprisingly spicy sorbet goes down. I have to remember to remove the seeds and veins of the pepper since the heat is most intense in these parts. When I add pepper, I toss a small piece of it into the blender with the simple syrup and fresh fruit when called for in the recipe.
To make the sorbet with or without the kick, you’ll need a blender OR food processor and a sorbet maker. Make sure the bowl of the sorbet maker is thoroughly frozen before you start. We keep our sorbet bowl in the freezer when it’s not in use, so when the spirit hits us, we can whip up a batch. Try the recipe below and feel free to post any questions or concerns or let me know how it turns out.
(As with all recipes, it’s good to start by reading it all the way through.)
1 cup of water
3/4 to 1 cup of sugar in the raw (depending on how sweet you want the sorbet)
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (if out of lemon juice, substitute the same amount of apple cider vinegar)
2 cups of fresh fruit
1. For the simple syrup, boil one cup of water.
2. While the water is coming to a boil, peel and chop your fruit into chunks (That is, if peeling and chopping are necessary. I did not peel the pears, for example. I did, however, cut each pear into fours to remove the core and seeds.).
3. When the water begins to boil, turn off the heat and pour the sugar in the water and stir until dissolved.
4. Place the chopped fruit in a small bowl and put this bowl in the freezer. Also, place the pot of simple syrup in the freezer. Let both chill for about 45 minutes.
5. Transfer fruit and syrup to a blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly smooth.
6. Pour blended mixture into a frozen sorbet bowl, sit the bowl on the base of the sorbet maker and let the machine stir the mixture for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately in glass cups or even wine glasses for a more elegant flair. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
7. Put the remainder of the sorbet in a container with a tightly fitting lid and place in the coldest part of the freezer.