A well-made sorbet is creamy and smooth (not taking into consideration fruit chunks or bits added for texture). Achieving the perfect consistency is all about getting the right balance of ingredients.
Sugar adds sweetness, of course, but because it doesn’t freeze, it also affects a sorbet’s consistency. Granulated sugar requires liquid of some sort to dissolve the crystals, but if too much liquid is added, the sorbet will be icy and hard when frozen, and the flavor may be compromised. In this case, using some sugar in liquid rather than granulated form, such as honey or light corn syrup, can help keep the sorbet smooth. Just a tablespoon or two inhibits the formation of ice crystals during freezing, and the thickness of honey or corn syrup gives the sorbet base a little more body, which means a creamier consistency.
It’s well-known that alcohol doesn’t freeze. Adding just 2 to 3 tablespoons of alcohol per quart (of frozen sorbet) can have a big impact on the sorbet’s consistency.
In Mexico, to ensure a good consistency, some sorbet makers add cremola
, or guar gum, to their bases. This widely used emulsifier is a natural powder, and just a little bit does the trick. In the United States, guar gum can be found at many natural food stores and online.
Fruits that contain high amounts of pectin, a natural thickener, yield creamy sorbets without the help of corn syrup, alcohol, or guar gum. Peaches, raspberries, and mangoes are examples of pectin-rich fruits. OAXACAN LIME SORBET
Nieve de Limón Oaxaqueño MAKES ABOUT
This lime sorbet is popular all over Oaxaca. Unlike Nieve de Limón (page 29), this one is made with only lime zest and no juice, so the flavor is very intense but without any tartness. The bright green color may appear artificial but is the result of using so much grated lime zest.
In Oaxaca, sorbet makers often use tiernos
limes, which are immature limes that have a very strong flavor but do not yield much juice. I find that Key limes are similar in taste to tiernos
, but you can use any kind, really. Try to find small, dark-colored limes for the best flavor, and be sure to wash and dry them carefully before zesting. 12 Key limes, washed and dried
1 cup sugar
3¾ cups water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
Grate the zest from the limes, removing as much of the green skin as possible and avoiding the white pith. In a blender or food processor, combine the zest and sugar and pulse 4 or 5 times to extract the natural oils. Transfer the sugar mixture to a bowl, add the water, corn syrup, and salt, and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours but no more than 4 hours.
Freeze and churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For a soft consistency, serve the sorbet right away; for a firmer consistency, transfer it to a container, cover, and allow to harden in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.
Copyright © 2017 by Fany Gerson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.