Strawberry season has just ended in our area, and we spent the month of June serving this lovely sorbet at the restaurant. Although it will have much better color if you use vine-ripened local berries, even store-bought strawberries will produce an acceptable result.
We keep our sorbet-making simple: no sugar syrups, egg whites, or other unnecessary steps; just fruit, sugar, water, lemon, salt, and a blender.
One of the most important aspects of sorbet-making is to include a little lemon juice — not so much as to taste strongly of lemon, but enough to accentuate the natural flavor of the primary fruit. Lemon juice functions in sorbet as salt does in savory foods, allowing the natural flavor to blossom.
Another important aspect of sorbet-making is to monitor the temperature of your freezer. Depending on the setting, ours ranges from -10 degrees to positive 10 degrees, a huge different which will affect the texture of your sorbet or gelato. We make sure the freezer is as cold as possible when freezing the ice cream machine insert, but once the sorbet is churned and moved to the freezer for aging, we try to keep the temperature between 10 and 20 degrees, which is the temperature of gelato freezers in Italy. This will keep the sorbet or gelato from becoming rock hard quickly and will give you a nice half-day window to serve the sorbet. Unless the freezer is warmer than 10 degrees, we keep the sorbet covered.
Strawberry Sorbet (makes 1 quart, about 8 modest servings)
In a blender, process 450 grams strawberries (about a quart) with 300 grams water, 150 grams sugar, 2 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Chill at least 8 hours or preferably overnight, and freeze in an ice cream machine. We like to make ours at 5 pm to serve at 8 pm, but if you keep your freezer between 10 and 20 degrees, you can keep your sorbet at the right temperature for at least half a day.
Couldn’t be easier!
Justin Naylor, chef & farmer at Old Tioga Farm