Who doesn't love a frozen dessert? With the temperatures picking up as we get closer to summer, ice cream or sherbet is the order for many as a dessert. Even in some foreign countries, they each tend to have a special frozen dessert. In Italy, it's called "granita" or "sorbetto". In France, it's "glacee" or "sorbet". In Mexico, they have a wonderful frozen drink called a "granizado". No matter where you get it or what it is, frozen desserts are always popular.
Let's take a look at one of the desserts from France: the "sorbet", which is pronounced "sor-BAY". This is a frozen fruit dessert that's close to a sherbet, except there's no milk in it. The recipe I have to share is called "Strawberry Sorbet" and it can be made with any favorite fruit that you would like in a frozen dessert besides strawberries: peaches, blueberries, bananas....your choice! It's easily made and you don't even need an ice cream freezer to make it!
You begin with the fresh fruit of your choice, which in this instance are strawberries. After washing and capping the berries, they are pureed in a blender or food processor. The recipe states that if your fruit contains small seeds and you don't want them in your sorbet, you would need to sieve the puree. However, since strawberry seeds aren't very noticeable in this dessert, this step could be omitted. Sugar goes into the puree, along with orange juice and if you like it, Grand Marnier or orange liquor. If you prefer to omit the liquor, you may and simply increase the orange juice by an additional 1/4 cup.
You'll see in the recipe that it calls for superfine sugar. This is a sugar that's finer than regular granulated sugar, but not a powdered consistency like confectioner's sugar. This can be found in the baking section or the mixed drink section of grocery stores. If you can't find it, you can use regular granulated sugar and run it through a food processor to make it finer. This type of sugar is faster dissolving than regular sugar, therefore it works very well in this recipe.
You now beat egg whites and fold them into the fruit mixture. The reason for egg whites is because if it weren't for them, the fruit mixture would freeze into a block of ice, which you don't want to happen. The egg whites give the sorbet a light, creamy consistency. Since you're using raw egg whites, for safety reasons, you'd need to use pasteurized egg whites, which can be found in the egg section of the grocery. Another alternative is to use powdered egg whites, reconstitute them according to package directions, then beat them as you would regular egg whites. Once they're folded in, this is frozen in your home freezer for 2-3 hours or until it's just starting to set. It's removed from the freezer and beaten with a electric mixer. This is what replaces the ice cream freezer! The mixture is returned to the freezer and frozen for about an hour.
If you wanted to mold it, after this last hour of freezing, you may turn the mixture into a mold of your choice to unmold later for presentation or leave it in a final, long-term container and freeze until you're ready for it. It keeps very well, if well covered. If you wanted to, you could remove the container from the freezer about 20-30 minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop from the container. It's a deliciously different frozen treat!
While I'm talking about French desserts, I shared a recipe sometime ago for a "French Orange Cake" that has an apricot glaze over it. To get the recipe, follow this link:
For a frozen dessert with a French twist, don't say sherbet....say "sor-BAY"!
- 2 quarts fresh strawberries (or any fruit of your choice)
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or orange liquor (see note below)
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
Puree the berries in a blender or food processor. If desired, sieve to remove the seeds. Add the sugar, orange juice and the Grand Marnier, if using it. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and whisk into the fruit mixture. Turn into a large freezer container, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 2-3 hours until it's begun to set. Remove from the freezer and beat vigorously with an electric mixer. Return the mixture to the container and freeze again for about 1 hour. Turn into a mold for unmolding later or a final, long-term container. Freeze until serving time.
Note: if omitting the liquor, increase the orange juice to 3/4 cup.