Sorbet for Breakfast

Sorry for the delayed post this morning; I was held up in traffic -- of the kitchen variety. While working on my first cup of coffee, I turned on the ice cream maker for a morning batch of blueberry sorbet.

blueberry sorbet
Ultra-gorgeous blueberry sorbet. (Kim O'Donnel)

What is sorbet, anyway? Unlike ice cream, which is made of any combination of milk, cream or eggs, sorbet is dairy and egg-free, for the most part. Some sorbet recipes, such as those in "The Ultimate Ice Cream Book" by Bruce Weinstein, include small amounts of milk and/or egg whites, which technically would make it a sherbet. (Remember eating sherbet as a kid? It was heaven after I had my tonsils removed at the age of six.)

The recipe below is another goodie from my guru, Mr. Ice Cream.

A few notes from along the sorbet way: Don't try to do this recipe in one night. Unlike with ice cream, sorbet making requires a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) that takes little time to cook but needs a few hours to completely cool.

The cooked berries also need at least an hour to completely cool before proceeding. If you're organized, you can do the syrup and the berries in one night, followed by the flavor additions and churning the next day.

From Mr. Ice Cream:

Even though it seems from my recipes that I'm a complete booze hound, adding creme de cassis (a black currant-flavored liqueur. Remember the Kir Royale?) to the mix serves two important purposes: It intensifies the flavor of the fruit, and the extra alcohol gives the finished product a creamier texture.

He's right. The cassis is a lovely addition, giving the sorbet a sublime mouth feel. I don't know if I ever had sorbet this creamy. Outrageous! Its fuchsia color alone is reason enough to make a batch - drop-dead gorgeous. DO try this at home before blueberries disappear at local markets.

Got a favorite sorbet (or sherbet) recipe? Share in the comments area below.

Bill Addison's Blueberry Sorbet

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 pints blueberries (4 cups)
1 tablespoon creme de cassis
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, simmer over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least two hours (this mixture, known as simple syrup, will keep

Place the blueberries in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of the simple syrup. Over medium heat, bring the blueberries to a boil, then bring the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the berries have all popped and released their juices. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Puree the berry mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stain through a fine mesh sieve. You should have about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of puree.

Add the creme de cassis, lemon juice, lime juice salt and all but 1 tablespoon of the remaining syrup. Mix and taste for seasoning to ensure the balance of the sweet and tart is to your liking. Add the remaining simple syrup or more lemon juice if needed, keeping in mind that the ginger will add extra sweetness. When the mixture is seasoned to your taste, stir in the chopped crystallized ginger.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Makes about 1 quart.

By Kim ODonnel |  July 13, 2006; 10:21 AM ET Frozen Treats
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Just one thing: creme de cassis is black currant flavored liqueur, not blackberry (sorry, I'm French and picky)

Posted by: tdp | July 13, 2006 10:54 AM

Black currant, yes, of course. That is what I meant to type (maybe I need another cup of coffee). Consider correction done, and merci!

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | July 13, 2006 11:09 AM

Mango sorbet (made with the smaller yellow mangoes) is fantastic. Blackberry is good too, in fact, these two swirled together are best of all (a trick I learned from the Holy Grail guy at the Court House Farmer's Market). Tried nectarine recently, not as good--I think nectarine and peach need dairy.
I'm going to make a sorbet terrine soon (with store-boughts) for a super-easy but impressive-looking dessert: you soften, spread, freeze, then repeat with all the layers. Freeze in plastic-wrap lined loaf pan and unmold. You can also make a topping like berry compote or chocolate. Check these out on's one with truffles frozen inside--when you slice it you get polka dots!

Posted by: Favorite Sorbet | July 13, 2006 12:13 PM

Is there a way to do sorbet sugar free (no artificial sweeteners either)?

Posted by: slb2130 | July 13, 2006 12:19 PM

Sorbet recipes, to me, are just lists of fruit since the basic process remains much the same. :)

Lemon/orange (for those who like it a bit sweeter)
Grape/red wine
Pomegranate/lime (I prefer fresh poms because juicing them leaves a few tiny shreds of seed that add to the flavor)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2006 12:31 PM

"Stain through a fine mesh sieve."

Yup - good reminder to wear an apron whenever you're working with blueberries and juice.

Posted by: JuNK | July 13, 2006 1:58 PM

Mmm, the last Cooking Light to arrive in my mailbox had a fantastic recipe for Strawberry Margarita sorbet! Fresh strawberries, orange and lime juices and zest, a little sugar, and a little tequila. It's absolutely fabulous!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2006 4:58 PM

Just last night I invented a new sorbet (kind of by accident):

1/2 cup lime juice
Zest of 2 limes
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 or 3 tablespoons Pimm's liqueur
Handful of fresh mint leaves

Combine all ingredients in bowl; stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill in fridge for a few hours; freeze in ice cream maker.

Pimm's and lemonade is the classic British summer drink. I'm guessing this recipe would work equally well with lemons and maybe a little ginger.

A general note on preparation: as a rule, I don't boil my sorbet syrup. Sugar will dissolve in cold water with a bit of extra stirring, and you get a fresh fruit flavour rather than the jam-like taste of cooked fruit. Plus, no need to chill overnight.

Really enjoying this blog! Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Liza | July 13, 2006 5:39 PM

I absolutely LOVE this blog -- soaking it up.
thanks kim

Posted by: foodiegirl | July 13, 2006 10:04 PM

Pear sorbet.
Get the nice juicy overripe ones, skin and core carefully - make sure you don't have any pith in there, and don't use them if they are grainy. Then puree with as little extra liquid as you can. Follow the standard fruit/syrup ratios. It's very light and subtle, and is a great way to cleanse the palate between strongly flavored courses.

Posted by: John | July 14, 2006 11:57 AM

Thanks for the blueberry sorbet recipe. I was just looking for one.

Posted by: Little Red | July 14, 2006 4:55 PM

I made a lemon sorbet a few weeks ago, with Meyer lemons and about a quarter of a cup of limoncello added to the mix, and it was incredible! Thankfully, I didn't have to drive anywhere after eating it.

Posted by: Jasmine | July 14, 2006 6:14 PM

Made the blueberry sorbet on Saturday ...
'twas absolutely wonderful. However, out of my 4 cups of blueberries, I only got 2 cups of puree. If you don't have 2 1/2 to 3 cups of puree, you might reserve a additional tablespoon or more of simple syrup and only use it if necessary. The chopped crystalized ginger was a terrific addition.

Posted by: Christine | July 17, 2006 11:01 AM

i'd love to give this sorbet recipe a whirl without the ice cream maker, since i'm unlikely to buy one - is there any other way to perform the freezing operation?

thanks heaps!

Posted by: rf | July 18, 2006 1:37 PM

I finally got around to eating some this weekend. It was majorly delicious. I ended up leaving it at my friends' home for her mother to try out since the mom is just starting chemo. You could really taste the blueberries and it wasn't too sweet.

Posted by: Little Red | July 31, 2006 11:40 AM

It was indeed very tasty. My Mom loved it.

Posted by: Vicki | July 31, 2006 12:18 PM

Can anyone tell me if I can use Chambord instead of Creme de Cassis. I already have it and don't want to go buy a bottle if I don't need it.
Thanks! This looks fabulous.

Posted by: jesswil28 | July 3, 2009 12:16 PM

Jesswil28, it's such a small amount going with chambord will be fine. The idea here is to bring out the flavor of the berries and to also change freezing point so sorbet doesn't overcrystallize. In a pinch, you could also use vodka. Have fun!

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | July 3, 2009 12:21 PM

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