Sorbets: A Great Answer for "What's For Dessert?"
What IS sorbet, anyway? According to Wikipedia, sorbet is a frozen dessert made from sweetened water flavored with fruit (typically juice or puree), wine, and/or liqueur. The origin of sorbet is variously explained as either a Roman invention, or a Middle Eastern drink charbet, made of sweetened fruit juice and water. Sorbet is sometimes served between courses as a way to cleanse the palate before the main course.
Sorbets are a great answer to age-old question, “What’s for dessert?” because they are usually dairy-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free (except for chocolate and coconut, which contain natural fat and milk). Most sorbets are also certified as kosher products.
Sorbet should be smooth and creamy, not watery. The color should be rich. It should taste like the natural fruit, not an overly sweetened candy-like flavor. Some sorbet contains chunks of natural fruit. This is, of course, a matter of personal preference.
One of the real positive factors to the sorbet-for-dessert approach is how easy they are to prepare. An elegant and impressive homemade sorbet can be made in as long as it takes to hit the “Blend” button on my blender. Here are a couple quick recipes that call for only a few simple ingredients and need no special equipment (like desserts that require rock salt and ice). Vivid, sweet and tangy–they’re pretty healthy, to boot.
Raspberry SorbetServes 2 or 3
2 cups fresh raspberries (or 1 12-oz pkg frozen)
1/3 cup unsweetened frozen juice concentrate (apple, cherry, grape, etc)
1 to 2 tablespoons honey (optional, if berries are very tart or you want a sweeter result)
1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
If using fresh berries, rinse and freeze on a tray until frozen hard. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend just until smooth, but not soupy. Serve immediately, garnished with (organic) rose petals or other edible flowers.
Pineapple SorbetServes 5-6
1 small pineapple, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw honey
Mint sprigs (optional)
Cut pineapple into 2-inch pieces. Place pineapple and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add honey; process 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.
Note: If you don't have an ice-cream freezer, use a covered metal bowl. Freeze mixture 3 hours or until it is hard on the outside but slushy in the middle. Remove it from the freezer, beat it with a whisk until smooth, and return to the freezer, covered, for 4 hours until firm.