Strawberry Sorbet – Making Sorbet is Like Navigating

We hadn’t driven unfamiliar routes enough times for me to find out whether he was one of those guys.

You know, one of those guys who have too much testosterone to unfold a map. Turn on the GPS. Ask for directions. Because you know, having an internal compass is a requisite characteristic of a real man.

But we didn’t have to.

I had strawberries, had pureed them into…puree, then chilled it. I was sitting at my desk trying to verify ingredients and ratios and techniques and tips from the open Ice Cream cookbook against recipe sites open in 14 tabs on my laptop. That’s what I do. Before I head anywhere east of the 405 freeway, I map my route on Google maps. I “show traffic.” I cross check with sigalert. I turn on the GPS in my phone and search my destination.

Before I make a Strawberry Sorbet, I recipe-tize.

“What are you doing?” he called out from the kitchen.

“I’m looking up strawberry sorbet recipes.”

“We don’t need a recipe.” He might have sounded offended, slightly alarmed, or maybe that’s my imagination re-blogging recent history.

“Ok. Well, are you going to make simple syrup 1:1 or 1:2 or…?” Ratios. I don’t use recipes often in the kitchen, but ice cream, like traffic, is science.

“Trust me.”

“I know.”

“I can tell.”

“I do it by taste.”

I am a man.”

He didn’t say the last one, and certainly not with that emphasis, but I could sense it. Hear it in the water coming from the faucet, the pot clinking against that black iron pot thing on the stovetop, the sugar “ssshing” out of the bag. He was making simple syrup. Without measuring. Like a man. Somewhere in there I rolled my eyes.

His sorbet was perfect.

I got us lost on the way to Huckleberry for lunch.

Strawberry Sorbet “We don’t need a recipe” Recipe

The reality of sorbet is that it always starts with a simple syrup, but the added sugar should be adjusted according to how sweet the fruit. This is the recipe for the Blackberry Sorbet in the Williams-Sonoma Ice Cream book. It uses a sugar-water ratio that is weighted toward water, and cooks fresh berries with the syrup. We didn’t do this. We made syrup, then poured it and the strawberry puree simultaneously into the ice cream maker.

Makes about 1 pint

Sorbet Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cups fresh blackberries (we used strawberries, duh)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Sorbet Directions:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high-heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the blackberries to the syrup and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat ti medium and simmer, stirring constantly, until the berries are soft and beginning to dissolve, about 2 minutes.
  3. Strain the berries through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing on the berries with the back of a large spoon. Discard the blackberry pulp and seeds.
  4. Add the lemon juice to the blackberry syrup and stir to combine. You should have about 1½ cups liquid. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 8 hours.
  5. Pour the blackberry syrup into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet to a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days, before serving.
~ has a basic strawberry sorbet recipe from Sheila Lukins and Simply Strawberry Sorbet recipe that includes an egg white (wtf?)
~ Paula Deen uses lime juice (instead of lemon) and also adds corn syrup (?)
~ Both The Los Angeles Times and Yumsugar use recipes from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop book
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 justcooknyc July 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm

it seems like everybody but me is making awesome sorbets… gotta remedy that


2 Megan@FeastingonArt July 29, 2009 at 1:49 am

I have always wanted to try my hand at sorbet. It looks absolutely lovely!


3 Sarah J. Gim July 29, 2009 at 6:34 am

justcooknyc: absolutely! and while it’s not quite ice cream, sorbet is good to shake it up for the 31 days that are National Ice Cream Month!

megan: do it! (and it seems there are ways to make sorbet without an ice cream maker)


4 Leah T July 29, 2009 at 7:58 pm

So do you relish his perfect sorbet, or have disgust for the non-direction needing manliness?


5 Sarah J. Gim July 29, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Leah T: is it possible…both?


6 catty July 31, 2009 at 6:07 am

Ahh yum. What’s this i hear about somewhere out there, someone has written a cook book on making ice creams in a blender? Cos i ain’t got no ice cream maker BUT I HAVE A BLENDER! I need that book!


7 Paul Beaulieu August 3, 2009 at 6:21 am

I just started following people on Twitter, hence found this site. As an ex chef, I love the site! When I was an Executive Chef, I worked with some excellent pastry chefs. the key as they explained things was making sure you had to exact sugar level. Too much and it will not freeze. Some of my favorites were, champagne, mango, coconut, peach. God I loved that stuff. Anyway, keep up the great work. I will be following on Twitter. One of these days I will also start a food blog.


8 j August 7, 2009 at 10:01 am

hey sarah,
are u going to the korean bbq cook-off in k-town this sat? i see jonathan gold is one of the judges.


9 yuttiness August 7, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I’ve read this blog for years. Years. It’s traveled across 2 jobs with me. There was those dark months where you stopped blogging and I was like shoot how much time can Tastespotting really take up seriously I am done with this site but I kept checking and I’m really glad you’re back. This is, along with Orangette, my favorite blog. Major high praise for sure. ; )


10 megan August 11, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I’ve only made a Merlow (and zin) sorbet. Your strawberry sorbet looks perfect! So refreshing. Now I’m craving it. :)


11 Jennifer, Dove Team August 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm

This dessert sounds divine! Have you ever baked anything using Dove Chocolate Promises with Peanut Butter?


12 Gourmet Chick August 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm

That map thing that men can do is so irritating – I am always getting lost. There is a lot of things we can do better though – and generally in life and especially baking following directions or instructions precisely does help!


13 Matthew September 3, 2009 at 5:07 am

Love your photos on this site! What lens are you using for the food closeups, if you don’t mind my asking?


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