Explainers

How to make sorbet

Dessert queen Philippa Sibley shares how to make sorbet at home for the ultimate summer treat.

By Philippa Sibley
The key to making a delicious fruit sorbet is using fresh fruit at its peak. Summer is the perfect time to experiment – there's plenty of fruit in season to play with, and a bowl of sorbet is always welcome on a hot day.
It's super easy to make your own at home, and so much more rewarding than hitting up the local ice-cream parlour. It's all about choosing fruit that's ripe and fragrant, and balancing the quantities of sugar and water: if there's too much sugar, the sorbet will be too soft and sweet; if there's too much water, it'll freeze solid. The rest? Simply blend a fruit purée, churn, freeze, scoop and serve.

Toolkit

  • The Breville ice-cream maker ($399.95) churns according to the texture of the purée, resulting in the smoothest sorbet.

How to make sorbet, step-by-step

Step 1
Step 1. Cut 1kg nectarines in half, discarding stones.
Step 2
Step 2. Combine nectarines with a bruised, halved lemongrass stick, 280gm caster sugar, 80gm liquid glucose and 150ml water in a large saucepan (see note).
Step 3. Bring nectarine mixture to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until fruit is softened (5-10 minutes), then cool briefly.
Step 4
Step 4. Purée nectarine mixture in a blender, then pass through a fine sieve.
Step 5
Step 5. Churn purée in an ice-cream machine in batches, according to machine instructions, until a soft sorbet consistency, then transfer to a container and freeze until firm (1-2 hours). For the best results, churn sorbet around 2 hours before serving, so it's ready to go in the freezer ahead of time. If it gets too firm, soften it in the refrigerator a little.

Stone fruit variations

Why stop at nectarines? Apricots and peaches make great sorbet, too. Follow the same recipe as above, adjusting as follows: for apricot sorbet, use 300gm caster sugar, 85gm liquid glucose and 285ml water; for peach sorbet, peel the fruit and use 260gm caster sugar, 75gm liquid glucose and 95ml water.

What's your flavour?

When it comes to flavour combinations, keep it simple and look to classic desserts for inspiration. Peaches and apricots work well with vanilla, while honeydew melon and pineapple are perfect matches for lemon verbena. Lime juice brings out the natural sweetness of mango, and classic citrus fruits are complemented by makrut lime and lemongrass. Or, for a boozy kick, try adding a little of the spicy, herbal liqueur, Chartreuse, to strawberry purée.