22 sorbet flavours to make with berries, herbs and other tasty additions
Sorbet is an easy and delicious way to make the most of berries and herbs.
Words: Jenny Garing
A sorbet is an easier-to-make-healthier version of ice-cream. It works really well if you use berries as base, and you can add fresh herbs for a better flavour than when you add them to ice cream.
Traditionally a sorbet is made with fruit, lemon juice, and a simple sugar syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled together, then cooled). These ingredients are blitzed in a food processor and then put into an ice cream maker.
A 1:5 ratio of sugar to fruit makes the sorbet slightly creamier, but it does tend to crystalise. To avoid that, I use a little corn syrup which helps to stop crystallisation, making the sorbet smoother and not so icy. Use a light corn syrup, not the industrialised American one – I use Korean Essential corn syrup, found in most Asian food shops. If you don’t have it, double the amount of sugar, or if you want to spice things, substitute with vodka – however, your sorbet may freeze icier than expected.
Recipe: Berry Good Sorbet
If you don’t have blueberries, use another berry type, or a mix of any that you have, fresh or frozen, or fruit such as mango or pineapple
5 cups fresh berries or other fruit – I used blueberries
3 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup (or sugar, or vodka)
Rinse the berries and pat dry. If using from frozen, thaw and drain. Tip the berries into a bowl, food processor or blender. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and light corn syrup and leave it macerate for 20 minutes to help the sugar dissolve and break down the fruit.
Process until the mixture is a smooth puree. If the berries (eg strawberries, raspberries) contains small seeds or it’s very fibrous (eg mango, pineapple), strain it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the solids. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge until cold.
Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to its instructions. Once the sorbet has reached a soft serve consistency, transfer it to a freezer-safe container.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put the mixture into a baking tray and into the freezer. Take it out every few hours and scrape it with a fork to break up the icicles. When serving let it sit for a few minutes on the bench before scooping.
Garnish with fresh mint.
HERBS AND FLAVOURS THAT MAKE A SORBET SING
If your sorbet is made with blueberries, try adding:
• 3 tbsp lime juice, or;
• 3 tbsp gin, with some crushed juniper berries if you have them, or;
• 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped.
If using strawberries, try:
• 2 tbsp coarsely crushed black or pink peppercorns (or 1 tbsp of each) – the pink peppercorns are citrusy and the black ones add a bit of warmth, or;
• 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil, or;
• 3 tbsp chopped, fresh coriander, or;
• 1½ cups champagne, or;
• ½ cup Cointreau.
If using raspberries, try:
• 10 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped – don’t use dried;
• ½ cup dutch cocoa and 50g chopped chocolate, or;
• 1 tbsp rosewater.
If using blackberries or boysenberries, try:
• ¾ cup red wine, or;
• 4 tbsp white rum, or;
• 4 tbsp whiskey.
Jenny’s tip: if you add an alcohol to a sorbet, don’t add more than 1 tablespoon per cup of fruit puree or it won’t freeze – you’ll get a slushie instead (which you may prefer).
HOW TO MAKE FRESH HERB SORBET
Refreshing herb sorbets are wonderful palate cleansers. Mint sorbet is a classic, but there are lots of other great combinations.
Recipe: Plain Sorbet Base
1 cup sugar
3 cups of water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp corn syrup
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in small saucepan. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge until cold.
Stir in the lemon juice and corn syrup and then put it into your ice cream maker or into a tray for freezing as per the berry sorbet.
If you want to add fresh herbs:
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in small saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the herbs, cover, then leave to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the herbs out of the syrup, then transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge until cold.
Stir in the lemon juice and corn syrup and then put into an ice cream maker or spread out on a tray for freezing as per the berry sorbet.
• basil and lime – 1 cup loosely packed basil, chopped, and ¼ cup lime juice (instead of lemon juice)
• lemongrass – 2 sticks, finely chopped
• kaffir lime leaves – swap the lemon juice for lime juice, add 3 thinly sliced lime leaves
• lemon verbena – 1 cup, loosely packed
• rosemary and lavender – 2 rosemary sprigs (8cm long) and 2 tsp fresh or dried lavender buds
• chamomile and lavender – 2 tbsp dried chamomile and 2 tsp fresh or dried lavender buds
• melon and tarragon – 3 cups chopped melon (and only use 1 cup of water to make the syrup as the melon provides the extra moisture) and 4 sprigs (8cm long) of tarragon.
If you like a delicate flavour: 2 tbsp dried chamomile and 2 tsp fresh or dried lavender buds;
If you like a bit of a kick: ½ cup loosely packed shiso, chopped, and 1 tbsp vodka
If you need a pick-me-up: ½ cup loosely packed Thai basil, chopped, and a good pinch of chilli