Peach Sorbet

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Peaches and sugar; this is all you need for this delicious peach sorbet which keeps  the peaches’ flavours to the fullest. This recipe is sorbet perfection with just two ingredients. And if you wonder what is so special about this recipe, there are a few tricks in it, which really make the difference. Let me explain:

Most recipes for peach sorbet are made with peach, water and sugar. You make a syrup with the water and the sugar; then you blend it with the peaches to create the sorbet mixture. But the sad fact is that by doing so, you add water, unnecessarily, to your sorbet, contributing to that familiar, unwanted icy mouthfeel and muting the lovely peach flavour. 

If, on the other hand, you choose a recipe which only uses peaches and sugar, and blend them together, then, after blending, most of the sugar remains undissolved. Sugar does not dissolve as easily as we think. And we really need to fully dissolve it, as properly dissolved sugar in sorbets acts as the magic ingredient which traps water (the water which exists naturally in the fruit) and prevents it from becoming tiny ice crystals once frozen, which result in a sorbet with an icy mouthfeel. 

In this recipe, we do not cook the peaches, so as to retain their fresh, bright flavour to the fullest. To fully dissolve the sugar without using heat, we use tricks that I have developed over 14+ years of ice cream making; these make for a peach sorbet very similar to an artisanal store-bought one, with a perfect, velvety texture and the fullest peach flavour possible;  without using any of the additives, which sorbets usually need. 

The ingredients:

You will only need two ingredients:

Peaches: choose ripe, in-season peaches. The flavour of the peach ice cream will be determined by the flavour of the peaches you will use. So go on, and use the best you can find.

Sugar: regular sugar (granulated) is my usual go-to option, but you can also use superfine/caster sugar, which dissolves faster and more easily.

The recipe at a glance:
to show the recipe at a glance
to show the recipe at a glance
The Biterkin tricks to a perfect Peach Sorbet:

With this trick we dissolve the sugar without applying any heat or adding water. I use this trick when I want to leave the fruit uncooked and its flavours intact and loud.

How it works: instead of cooking the peach with the sugar to dissolve the sugar, we macerate the peach chunks and the sugar for a few hours. This causes the peach to release its juices, and in turn the juices gradually dissolve the sugar, without applying any heat.

This works best with peaches which are tepid, as the warmer the temperature, the more easily the sugar dissolves. However, if you start with refrigerated peaches (cold), just leave them to macerate for longer until the sugar dissolves.

Stirring occasionally speeds up the process and helps the sugar melt efficiently. 

The secret for a fluffy sorbet is to reserve some of the syrup which has formed in the bowl, before we blend the peaches, and add it later, during the last stages of churning. 

Why it works: too much sugar in the sorbet mixture prevents it from fluffing up during churning. Less sugar will make the ice cream icy. To achieve the right amount of sugar, without getting in the way of the fluffiness during churning, we keep some of the syrup aside and we put it in the sorbet after it has fluffed up, at the last stages of churning.

The sorbet mixture should be thoroughly cold when you churn it in the ice cream maker. By leaving the peach chunks in the syrup overnight, we protect them from oxidation. When they are cold, we can blend them. 

Ok, this might be a no-brainer, but how many times  have you been asked in a recipe to blend the solid ingredients with the wet ingredients, only to be left with chunks of the solids intact?

Blending has its art too, and if you want a smooth sorbet, then blend it the right way: first start blending the solid (peach chunks) and with the blender on, add just as much syrup as needed to get it going. Leave to blend for one full minute and then gradually add the rest of the syrup. Leave to blend for one more minute and you will be awarded with a perfectly smooth sorbet.

Peach Ice Cream
Ingredients:

You will need a scale to accurately measure the ingredients.

For this recipe. I cannot provide you with a trustworthy measurement in cups, as peaches are impossible to measure in volume. And the weight of the peaches is of peeled and stoned peaches; it is important that it is 1000 gr/35.3 oz, in order to achieve the right amount of sugars in the sorbet.

The only way for a perfect peach sorbet is to achieve the right “peach:sugar” ratio, which can only be done by weighing the ingredients.

The amount of fruit asked for in the ingredients is of peeled and stoned peaches; we weigh only the flesh of the peach. 

Peaches should be at room temperature; if not, leave them to macerate for longer in step 1, maybe for 1-2 hours more, as it takes longer for sugar to dissolve in cold temperatures.

Use fresh, juicy, in-season peaches. The taste of the peaches sorbet will be determined by the taste of the peaches. So, if you want a fragrant, wonderful sorbet, so should your peaches be.

Only use ripe ones, as they have the right amount of natural sugar content for this recipe; unripe peaches have not yet turned their starch into sugar, which will definitely affect the balance of the final sorbet and may result in an icy sorbet vs. a velvety one.

To ripen peaches, just leave them at room temperature for a day or two, until they feel soft to the touch.

Regular white sugar or superfine/caster sugar are the best options for this recipe. The finer the sugar crystals, the more easily they will dissolve at room temperature, without applying any heat.

I do not recommend using raw cane sugar (like Demerara or Turbinado), as the sugar crystals are large and are impossible to melt without applying heat. If you really want to use a raw cane sugar, you can mix the peach with the sugar and warm gently over low heat.

DO NOT use sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia. Also, do not use confectioner’s sugar, it is not suitable for this recipe. 

Ideally start with peaches which are tepid; this will help the sugar melt faster and more efficiently.

However, if the peaches are cold, leave them at room temperature for longer after mixing them with the sugar (step 1), 3-4 hours should be ok; this will allow the sugar to dissolve.

It is important to use the right amount of sugar in this recipe, in order to achieve the perfect texture. For this reason, be extra attentive in each and every step, so that you have the least loss of sugar possible throughout the process.

For instance, in step 1, after mixing the peaches with the sugar, take care when you finally remove the spatula, as there will be sugar stuck on it. Do your best to drop it back into the bowl and follow this mindset in every other step which can cause even minimal sugar loss.

This also applies every time you have to transfer the mixture from the bowl to the blender, from the blender to the bowl; and so on: take care that no trace of sugar/syrup/mixture is left behind. Using a flexible silicone spatula to scrape the residues is always effective.

Instructions

Before starting, make sure that your ice cream maker is ready for churning when needed. This means that if it has a removable freezer bowl, it should be put in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Prepare the peaches

Cut the peaches in roughly 2 cm (1 in.) cubes and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over them, squeeze in the lemon juice and give them a stir with a rubber spatula, leaving the spatula in the bowl.

Leave them for 2 hours at room temperature, during which time the peach will release its juices. Stir 3-4 times during this time to further help the sugar dissolve. 

Note: it is ok if there is a spoonful or two or undissolved sugar left on the bottom of the bowl. Just scrape it along with the rest of the bowl’s contents later.

After this time, when most of the sugar has dissolved and a syrup has formed, thoroughly chill the mixture by choosing one of the methods below (click to read):

Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours, until thoroughly cold.

 

Put the peach chunks in a sealable bag.

Check the bottom of the bowl with the syrup: if there is sugar left undissolved, stir well until it dissolves before pouring it in the sealable bag along with the peach chunks.

Seal the bag and cover with lots of ice in a large container. Leave for 3-4 hours to thoroughly chill.

Before churning, check if it is cold enough:

• an instant-read thermometer in the syrup should read 4ºC – 8ºC (39ºF-46ºF).

• if no thermometer is available, check with your index finger; the syrup should feel fridge-cold to the touch. 

If needed, add more ice and leave until thoroughly chilled.

Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours, until thoroughly cold.

Put the peach chunks in a sealable bag.

Check the bottom of the bowl with the syrup: if there is sugar left undissolved, pour it  in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until it fully melts. Allow to cool slightly before pouring it in the sealable bag along with the peach chunks.

Seal the bag and cover with lots of ice in a large container. Leave for 3-4 hours to thoroughly chill.

Before churning, check if it is cold enough:

• an instant-read thermometer in the syrup should read 4ºC – 8ºC (39ºF-46ºF).

• if no thermometer is available, check with your index finger; the syrup should feel fridge-cold to the touch. 

If needed, add more ice and leave until thoroughly chilled.

Step 2: Blend the peaches

With a slotted spoon, remove the peach chunks and put them into the blender.

There will be syrup left behind; measure out 75 gr/ml (2.6 oz. ; 1/3 cup) and put in a jug; place it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. This will be added later, in step 3, during the last minutes of churning.

Keep the rest of the syrup that has been left in the bowl close to the blender. Blend the peaches till pureed at medium speed for one minute. If needed, pour some of the syrup to get things going. When it is nice and smooth, gradually pour the rest of the syrup that has been left in the bowl, scraping the residues with a rubber spatula.

Increase the speed to high and blend for two minutes.

Prepare the ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Churn the sorbet

With the machine running, pour all of the blended peach mixture into the ice cream maker. Again. scrape as much as you can.

Churn until the peach sorbet is fluffed up. Depending on your ice cream maker, this may take 50-60 minutes. 

When the peach sorbet seems to have reached its final texture (doesn’t appear to change anymore in texture), remove the jug with the reserved syrup from the refrigerator and, with the machine on, start pouring it in the peach sorbet, a little at a time.

Leave it for a full 10 minutes to churn and until the syrup is fully incorporated in the peach sorbet. If needed, when you stop the machine, you can mix with a rubber spatula for full incorporation. 

Switch off the ice cream maker and remove its bowl keeping the peach sorbet inside; put it directly in the freezer, as per instructions in step 4.

Step 4: Put in the freezer to set

Cover the ice cream maker’s bowl (with the sorbet in it) with a lid and place it in the freezer.

Leave for 5-6 hours for the peach sorbet to set.

After that, you can serve it; or transfer to a sealable container for long term storing.

Storage

This peach sorbet, like all artisanal sorbets, freezes hard in the long term.

To soften it to a scoopable consistency, put it in the refrigerator for one hour. 

Discard after one month of keeping in the freezer.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, your sorbet mixture should always be thoroughly chilled.

Otherwise, your ice cream maker may not be able to churn the sorbet to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. a fluffy sorbet.

Straight after churning, the sorbet has a soft-serve consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it directly in the freezer for 5-6 hours after churning, will help it set and reach the right consistency.

Then you can serve it or transfer to a sealable container for longer storing. 

Ideally start with peaches which are tepid; this will help the sugar melt faster and more efficiently.

However, if the peaches are cold, leave them at room temperature for longer after mixing them with the sugar (step 1), 3-4 hours should be ok; this will allow the sugar to dissolve.

It is important to use the right amount of sugar in this recipe, in order to achieve the perfect texture. For this reason, be extra attentive in each and every step, so that you have the least loss of sugar possible throughout the process.

For instance, in step 1, after mixing the peaches with the sugar, take care when you finally remove the spatula, as there will be sugar stuck on it. Do your best to drop it back into the bowl and follow this mindset in every other step which can cause even minimal sugar loss.

This also applies every time you have to transfer the mixture from the bowl to the blender, from the blender to the bowl; and so on: take care that no trace of sugar/syrup/mixture is left behind. Using a flexible silicone spatula to scrape the residues is always effective.

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