Years ago, while working as a sous chef, one of the restaurants I worked at lost their pastry chef. It fell on me to cover pastries until the owners decided if they wanted to hire a new pastry chef or do without. Now, I can hold my own in a pastry shop, but I have to admit it is not one of my favorite things to do. Sure, I love playing around and baking every now and then, but to do it for 8-10 hours a day, day after day is not something I really enjoy all that much. There was one exception though, and that was the making of ice creams and sorbets. I absolutely loved the whole process and had lots of fun experimenting with different flavors and combinations. It helped that I am an ice cream junkie and if I had to taste test experiment after experiment until I got a new flavor just right, well then….I sacrifices I had to make for my career! When it came to sorbets, many of my experiments revolved around trying to recreate cocktails as dessert. The key to a successful “cocktail” sorbet was a balance of alcohol and sugar. Too little of either and the sorbet came out “icy” while too much of either and the sorbet wouldn’t freeze solid enough. Along the way I learned a number of other tricks also, one of which I am sharing in the recipe below.
Of all sorbets, I am most fond of passionfruit and citrus sorbets. I love the sweet-tart tanginess of these sorbets. They are prefect year round, their vibrant freshness brightening a winter’s day or acting as a cool refreshment on a hot summer day. To really play upon citrus’s flavor I like to take a three pronged approach to infusing my sorbets with as much flavor as possible. To do this not only do I use the juice of the citrus fruit, but also the zest, which gets used 2 ways in the recipe. This recipe only contains 3 ingredients and 1 optional one, but you’ll be amazed by the flavor you can achieve from only 3 items.
One word about zesting citrus fruit; do yourself a favor and buy a zester. They are not expensive and save you so much time. The other options are using a grater to zest the fruit which gives you a poor yield or using a peeler, which is time consuming as you then need to go back with a knife and remove any of the white pith you might have left on the peel, and then slice it into strips.
Pink Grapefruit Sorbet
3 each Pink Grapefruits
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1-2 Tbsp. Grenadine
Wash the grapefruits and zest 2 of the grapefruits. Combine the water, sugar, and zest in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Just cook until the sugar is dissolved then remove from the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes so that the zest can infuse the simple syrup with its flavor. Meanwhile zest the third grapefruit and very finely mince the zest. Measure out 1/2 Tbsp. for the recipe and reserve the rest for another use. Juice and strain the grapefruits. This should yield approximately 2 cups of juice. Stir the minced zest into the juice. Strain the simple syrup into a measuring cup. It should be about 12 ounces. Pour half of it into the juice. Taste and adjust to your liking. It should taste overly sweet as the freezing process will deaden the sweetness considerably. I like my sorbets pretty tart so I stop with the 6 ounces. If you want something a little sweeter add a couple more ounces. If the color is not to your liking add the grenadine to bump up the color. You could also try food coloring, but be very careful, you want a nice light pink color, not red. Chill for at least 2 hours then freeze, in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s directions. Once it is done it is ready to eat, but I like to give my sorbets and ice creams a chance to harden in the freezer overnight before I dig into them.