Last spring, one early afternoon, an old friend announced that he was in town and would be coming that evening for dinner. I had the meal pretty much ready but I had nothing for dessert. It wasn’t going to formal but I did want to have something tasty for dessert. It was before our cherries or apricots were ready so I didn’t have my usual default dessert but, I did have some Dirty Girl strawberries in the freezer. I had about 8 cups and I thought I would put them in the blender, with a little water sugar maybe a dash of balsamic vinegar then let it harden and before dinner, I would chop it up to make granita. As I was making the soon-to-be granita, it was so smooth and creamy that I realized that it would make a perfect sorbet instead.
I was so thrilled with my discovery, that I now make sorbet with my Vita Mix all the time. The reason why I specify Vita Mix blender is because that is what I use. Other blenders may work fine and even a Cuisinart may work, but the Vita Mix has incredible power and seems to be able to achieve a finer texture than any food processor I have used. What I like about this method is that it while it does require a Vita Mix it doesn't require an ice cream maker, which is of limited use.
This method requires a little planning as it uses frozen fruit. One way or the other, the fruit will have to be frozen and I personally prefer freezing it ahead of time than later as I think the texture is smoother.
I made this one with some very ripe Hosui Asian Pears. Warren pears will work beautifully for this as they are so creamy. While I don’t mind it, it may interest you to note that even pureed, the Hosui Asian pears maintain their slightly gritty texture.
I peeled the Hosuis and froze them in a bag without lemon juice. When I took them out of the freezer the flesh was still bright white; no oxidation what so ever had taken place.
Chef Becky’s tip: You will need about 6 cups total and it is better if the pears aren’t frozen into a lump. Mine broke apart pretty easily given a good wrap on the counter top
- 6 -8 cups frozen Hosui or Warren Pears
- ½ cups water
- ¼ cup sugar
*Optional: 1 tablespoon corn syrup or 1/3 cup champagne or prosecco
Tip: You could throw all the ingredients in the Vita Mix all at once but I think it’s best to add the water and the broken apart slices of frozen pears in stages. It will be easier on you and your Vita Mix.
- Start with 4 cups of the pears and all the water and sugar.
- Using the variable setting start at low and gradually turn the dial up to 7 or 8 and up.
- It will be pretty slushy but assuming you have good movement, the mass isn't stuck and there is a vortex at the top, add 2 more cups of the pears and the alcohol or corn syrup.
- The finished consistency should be cohesive, not chalky but not slushy either. (Note: if you use prosecco* or champagne, it will foam up quite a bit and you may need to let that subside in order to really get an idea or what the consistency is like.)
- Take it off the base and stir with a spoon or spatula.
- Pour into a pre-chilled metal bowl. If you can fit it into your freezer, it’s best to use a wider, shallower container.
- Freeze until it is firm throughout. The edges will freeze first, so if you think about it you can stir it into the rest of the sorbet.
- Within a couple of hours it will be firm enough to eat and after several hours it will be rock hard.
- Let sit out at room temperature and check it after 20 minutes; it should be soft enough to serve. If not, let sit until it is, checking it often.
- With an ice cream scoop, scrape across the top of the sorbet instead of digging into it; this will make for lighter scoops that aren't chunky. That’s why a wide container works better than a deeper or narrow bowl.
This is an elegant, refreshing and healthy fall dessert. I served it with some of our neighbors’ frozen Thompson seedless grapes and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!
“Using corn syrup or alcohol will it will not have the creamy texture for longer that 3-4 hours or so, after that it will become very hard and difficult to scoop and it will have to sit out at room temp (above) in order to soften again.
I don’t have any problem with using corn syrup in small amounts in desserts occasionally. Corn syrup is helpful in caramel sauces and sorbets in keeping sugar crystals from binding and preventing crystallization. It will keep the sorbet softer and easier to scoop after several hours or even a day in the freezer. Use only a small amount as too much and it will create a chewy texture. Alcohol is optional as well in small amounts it will keep your sorbet from getting rock hard and will add another flavor dimension. Too much, and it will be slushy. If you like you can make the sorbet without it then pour a little chilled prosecco over the sorbet before serving.”