My Cuisinart ice cream maker has gotten a fairly good workout since I purchased it last year. I thankfully have two bowls, and keep them well-wrapped in the freezer in our garage for those times when I want to add that little extra effort when people come to dinner. It’s that whole, "You made it yourself?" cry of disbelief that makes me smile while I watch them licking their bowls at the end of a nice evening.
The funny thing is, I’ve never made anything but ice cream with my Cuisinart. How perfect that Laura from Eat Drink Live, the hostess of HHDD #13 has challenged all of us to make sorbet. Sure, I think I know what that is. Or is it gelato I’m thinking of? Regardless, it couldn’t possibly be that difficult, right? Sheesh!
I’ll skip past the whole educational aspect of this post. Not yours, of course. Mine. Do I really know what the difference between ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, and gelato is? Nope. I know more than when I started this escapade, but if asked, I’m not sure what my response would be other than that ice cream has a much higher fat content than any of the others. Sorbet is more fruity than sherbet. Gelato? I’ll save that one for another day.
In my quest to learn as much as I could before choosing the perfect sorbet to make, I looked at many recipes found in cookbooks I own, magazines that feature sorbet recipes in the summertime, and on line, of course. Oh…and the trusty little booklet I got when I purchased the Cuisinart. Why not?
But what flavor might I choose? I was distracted for a while by a champagne sorbet, but kept eyeing my fruit bowl that had a gorgeous mango sitting in it. And bananas. And a pineapple.
Did I make it easy and find a straight forward recipe to get this done. Of course not. I chose three. Yes. Call it over kill. Call it having eyeballs that are completely and always too big for my own good. Call it whatever you want. I’m sure I’ll never change my ways because in the end, I always benefit from what I’ve tackled. Yes, even with something as basic as a sorbet. Besides, I have these very cute little aluminum molds I wanted to play with. I imagined cute little stars of sorbet to celebrate the 4th of July. Someone would surely deem me worthy of being Martha-ized, wouldn’t they?
All I needed to do to pull this off was to freeze a bit of each sorbet in the star molds, encasing each in its own baggie to keep it from drying out. Let’s see, how many people were supposed to be attending that dinner party I’d volunteered my dessert for? Hmmmm….well, maybe only a few stars just for decoration.
Up first: Fresh Mango Sorbet
Okay, so I forgot that Laura had already posted a completely lovely sorbet to announce the event. How completely lame can I be? Obviously, extremely. But remember, I had mangos on the brain — er, ah, on my counter. Plus the recipe in the Cuisinart booklet sounded perfect. Well, except the corn syrup.
4 ripe but firm mangoes, about 12 ounces each, peeled, pitted, and cubed
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
6 T fresh lemon or lime juice
Combine the mango cubes, sugar, corn syrup and citrus juice in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to chop, then process until thick and smooth, scraping jar or work bowl as needed with a spatula. The mango puree may be made up to one day ahead; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Turn the machine ON, pour mango puree into freezer b owl through ingredient spout and mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes.
This recipe was extremely easy. I used two very large mangos instead of four, and sliced off the pieces instead of cutting cubes, as the ripeness would have caused quite a mess. Plus, I’ve tried that cubing business a few times with mangoes, and am quite lousy at it. Avocados? I’ve got that down. Avocado sorbet? Ugh! Never mind… The consistency of the mango sorbet was truly perfect. The color intense, and the flavor excellent. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too sweet. It was perfect!
I scraped the sorbet from the freezer bowl into a container to pop into the freezer and retrieved the second freezer bowl for my next flavor.
Up second: Banana Pineapple Tropical Sorbet
I was truly excited about this recipe. I found it at cdkitchen. The recipe calls for a rather elaborate treatment of the pineapple so the sorbet may be served in it, but the directions sent my brain into convulsions almost instantly. You might want to take a peek, but proceed with caution.
This recipe seemed more healthy than the last, lacking the corn syrup, and the addition of yogurt sounded very good. With only 3 tablespoons of added sugar, this would be interesting compared to the mango sorbet.
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
2 bananas, chopped
2 T sugar
1 c. plain nonfat yogurt
1 T honey
Puree pineapple flesh and juice (left over from chopping) in food processor, gradually adding the sugar, yogurt and honey. Transfer to ice cream maker and process according to directions (about 25-30 min). Scoop sorbet into container and place in freezer until ready to use.
Hmmm…this was not very sweet. And the consistency after the mango sorbet was not as elegant. The texture was grainy, almost reminding me of a snow cone — especially after being in the freezer for a while. I was surprised to find that neither the pineapple or the banana flavor stood out.
Last, but not least: Quick Coconut Sorbet
Since I was already headed down the tropical path, I decided that coconut would be a perfect way to finish off my trio of sorbets. This recipe comes from the on-line version of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I quickly understood why this sorbet was tagged "quick."
1 c. coconut cream, such as Coco Lopez
1 c. cold water
few drops of almond extract
Warm opened can of coconut cream in pan of hot water. Pour into bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in water. Add extract. Process in an ice cream maker the freeze until firm.
You do know that if you are a coconut lover, the flavor of this is divine simply because of the coconut cream, right? I had huge doubts that this very simple recipe would amount to much and was nearly correct. Because I only had two freezer bowls for my Cuisinart (why would I EVER need three?) I had thrown the first one back in the freezer immediately believing that it would quickly freeze again and be ready for the last sorbet. All seemed well. I’m thinking that warming the coconut cream (because if you don’t the fat separates from the liquid) is the real culprit. Even with the addition of extremely cold water (I had ice floating for a while in mine) it wasn’t enough to offset the warmth. Plus, the freezer bowl being used a second time in one day must have sealed the deal. Mush. To be fair, it did get slushy. But I let it run, and then it just became liquid. The thought did cross my mind to add rum, some pineapple, an umbrella and par-tay on with Pina Coladas and trashy romance novels in the sun. Oooo-yah, bay-bee.
But no. I went back to the non-machine method of making sorbet and froze the liquid in a long covered plastic container. Occasionally I would open the container, and using a spoon, scrape up the mixture following the length of the container until all the sorbet had been "turned." Although it took several hours, by the time we were ready for dessert — after fireworks — the coconut sorbet was a decent consistency. Better than the Pineapple Banana, but nothing like the Mango, which was the best.
We served them together, sampling each for its uniqueness, then ultimately stirred them together in our bowls to discover a truly delectable combination of flavors with a great smooth texture. So much for elegance.
There is absolutely no way that I would make all three of these recipes to get the flavor we ended up with, but clearly I’ve got to experiment a bit. And there’s no hurry, because I mixed up the left overs and put them back in the freezer. Left overs the guys are sure to lick the bowl over.