Up until this past week, I had never made sorbet. I’m an ice cream kind of gal. I’m a coffee gal, too, and to me, sorbet is to tea as ice cream is to coffee. So I’ve stuck with the rich, creamy frozen treats and ignored the world of fruity, icy palate cleansers.
Well, I’m here to tell you that sorbet has a place in this world for a reason. Simply stated, it’s good. I’ll still go for ice cream over sorbet (just about any day, if you want to know the truth), but sorbet is delicious, in its own right. It’s clean and fruity, sharp and sweet, light and elegant. It’s nothing to turn up a nose at, I’ve learned. Even a coffee-snob nose.
My rhubarb tends to be greener than some varieties, so I added a few drops of red food coloring in order to give the sorbet a blushy hue. (I’m sure a few red raspberries, fresh cranberries, or strawberries thrown into the simmering saucepan would create an even rosier, and maybe tastier, sorbet, if you’re wanting to avoid the food coloring.)
This recipe is simple, all except for the straining part. I had to press every bit of the juice through my strainer with the back of a spoon, which really wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had been prepared for it. So consider this a heads-up—plan to spend a good ten to fifteen minutes swirling the pulp around in a strainer, waiting for the juice to seep through. Aside from that little inconvenience, the sorbet is a snap to make.
Sorbet freezes up much more quickly than ice cream—it took Mr. Handsome no more than ten minutes to crank it.
3 ½ cups rhubarb, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 ½ cups water
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons corn syrup
3-4 drops red food coloring, optional
Combine the first six ingredients (down through the ginger) together in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Cool the mixture for ten minutes. Puree the pulpy goop in the blender and pour/mash it through a fine-mesh sieve. Add the corn syrup to the now pulpless juice, and stir in the food coloring, if desired.
Chill the liquid for at least four hours. (I kept mine in the fridge for several days till I was able to get Mr. Handsome to churn it for me). The base separates with a frothy white layer rising to the top. This is not a problem, so do not fret.
Churn the sorbet according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. This recipe makes a very generous quart.