The trick to making great sorbet


Sorbets are wonderful: they are simple to make, can meet almost everyone’s dietary requirements, and there are hundreds of flavor options available. They can be fickle, however: too much sugar and they become a soupy mess, too little sugar and they will turn out icy and hard.

So how can you tell if a recipe has the right amount of sugar to make a perfect, creamy sorbet? Professionals use an expensive device to test for sugar content, but Zoë François (via indexed magazine Fine Cooking) has a simpler solution, that uses an egg. Don’t worry, the egg isn’t added as an ingredient, it’s used to determine if the sugar content is right.

How can an egg help you determine sugar content? You float the egg, still in its shell, in your sorbet mixture prior to freezing. Says Zoë: “As the sorbet base becomes saturated (or dense) with sugar, the egg buoys to the surface. When you can see a quarter-size circle of eggshell, the sorbet has enough sugar to make it a soft, smooth success.”

Here are some highly-rated sorbet recipes from the EYB Library that you can use to test this technique. Let us know if you try it.

Coconut lime sorbet from Epicurious
Chocolate and raspberry sorbet from Tinned Tomatoes
Pink grapefruit-champagne sorbet by David Lebovitz
Strawberry and honey sorbet from The Kitchn
Mango sorbet from Chocolate and Zucchini

Photo of strawberrt and honey sorbet from The Kitchn

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One Comment

  • hillsboroks  on  July 2, 2014

    I started making fruit sorbets years ago using a recipe from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks that called for a small amount of liqueur in the mixture. I knew that alcohol keeps things from freezing hard so it made sense to put it in and keep the sorbet from freezing solid. Over time I have experimented with different fruits and liqueurs using this same recipe but it always seems to turn out great. Plus you can have fun adding extra flavor layers depending upon what liqueur you use. I will have to try the floating egg method at least once this summer and compare the results with my old recipe.

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