Strawberry Sorbet – the right way
If you just blend strawberries and sugar to make strawberry sorbet, you have been doing it wrong.
Sugar in sorbets does much more than just add sweetness; sugar ‘s major role is to trap the water molecules and prevent them from becoming tiny ice crystals. You know, the kind which result in an icy mouthfeel.
The sad fact is that when you blend the strawberries with the sugar, most of the sugar remains undiluted, leaving the water free to create as myriads of tiny ice crystals.
For this reason, in this strawberry sorbet, we go beyond the blend-and-churn process. First, we marinate the strawberries in the sugar at room temperature, which makes the sugar thoroughly melt, creating a syrup.
Next, we chill the whole mixture before blending, because it should be fridge-cold when put in the ice cream maker. Lastly, before blending, we reserve some of the syrup which has formed, to add it during the last stages of churning. Analysing this is beyond the scope of this recipe, but you have to trust me on this.
This is the way to achieve a perfect, scoopable texture at home, similar to an artisanal store-bought sorbet’s, without using any additives. The process might seem long, but in reality it requires very little involvement.
That said, if you still want to use the blend-and-churn method, you can use the exact proportions of ingredients given here; at least now you know why your strawberry sorbet is icy.
Take care that:
This batch is for an ice cream maker of 1.5 lt/qrt capacity (or more).
Active preparation time: 30 minutes total
Resting time: 10 hours minimum in total
Strawberries: use fresh, juicy, in season strawberries. The taste of this strawberry sorbet will be determined by the taste of the strawberries. So, if you want a fragrant, wonderful sorbet, so should your strawberries be.
Sugar: only regular white sugar is suitable for this recipe.
DO NOT use sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia. Also, do not use confectioner’s sugar or raw cane sugar, they are not suitable for this recipe.
The amount of sugar in this recipe is important, to achieve the perfect texture. For this reason, be extra thoughtful in each and every step, so that no sugar gets wasted.
To begin with, take care when you remove the spoon with any sugar on it: use another spoon to push the sugar that covers the spoon back to the bowl. Later on, when you put the whole thing in the blender, take care that no trace of sugar/syrup is left behind. Using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom is always effective.
Cut the strawberries in 0.5 cm (0.2 in) small pieces and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over them, squeeze in the lemon juice and give them a stir, leaving the spoon in the bowl.
Leave them for a couple of hours at room temperature, stirring once or twice.
Then cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator overnight to chill.
When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the rule of thumb is that the mixture is thoroughly chilled before pouring it in the ice cream maker to churn. This ensures that you will achieve the best texture possible.
Domestic ice cream makers, especially the ones with a removable freezer bowl, tend to get warm quickly if the mixture we pour inside is not cold enough.
And when they get warm, they do not sufficiently churn anymore, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. a fluffy strawberry sorbet.
Remove the strawberries from the refrigerator.
Strain them over a bowl.
Put the strawberries from the strainer into the blender.
From the red syrup that has been left in the bowl, measure 100 ml in a jug and put it in the refrigerator. You will need this later, for step 3.
Keep the rest of the red syrup that has been left in the bowl close to you.
Blend the strawberries till pureed at medium speed. Start adding all the red syrup that has been left in the bowl, a little at a time. Increase the speed to high and blend for two minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
With the machine running, pour the blended strawberry sorbet mixture through the canister and into the ice cream machine.
Churn until the strawberry sorbet is fluffed up. Depending on your ice cream maker, this may take 40-50 minutes.
When the strawberry sorbet seems to have reached its final texture (doesn’t appear to change anymore), pour 50 ml of the reserved strawberry syrup inside.
Put the jug with the rest of the syrup back in the refrigerator to keep it cool.
Wait for ten minutes for the syrup to be fully incorporated, then pour the rest of the reserved strawberry syrup inside and wait for 10 more minutes.
When the strawberry sorbet has absorbed all the syrup, remove the bowl from the ice cream maker and (with the strawberry sorbet in it) put it directly in the freezer, as per instructions in step 4.
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.
So it is crucial to put it in the freezer to fully set and reach the right consistency.
Cover the ice cream maker’s bowl (with the sorbet in it) with a lid and place it into the freezer.
Leave for 4-5 hours for the strawberry sorbet to set.
After that, you can serve it; or transfer to a sealable container for long term storing.
This strawberry 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.