It was common to enjoy sorbet and ice cream in Paris in the 17th century after it was introduced to France by Catherine de Medici when she married the future Henry II of France in 1533 and bought her chefs with her and with them came recipes. The delicious iced desserts were so popular they eventually reached the streets of the city so that even the poor could enjoy them.
The most delicious sorbets have a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture that comes from tiny ice crystals. Getting the balance of sugar to fruit juice or fruit purée and then constantly churning the mixture as it freezes, creates the best taste. Fruit pulp, such as raspberry, mango or blackcurrant purée really adds to the texture keeping the mix soft, as does alcohol, which reduces freezing.
You don’t need an ice cream maker to make sorbet, but it does help to make for a smooth texture. If you don’t have one, mix the sorbet regularly with a fork as it freezes, or process it in a food processor once frozen.
2 small sticks cinnamon
250g granulated sugar
8 Seville oranges
3 tbsp Cointreau
1. Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan. Snap the cinnamon sticks in half and add. Dissolve the sugar over a moderate heat then boil and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Squeeze the oranges – they should be nice and juicy!
3. Put some ice and a little cold water in a large bowl. Set a slightly smaller bowl on top of the ice.
4. When the cinnamon syrup has boiled for 10 minutes, remove it from the heat and pour immediately into the iced bowl and stir in the Cointreau.
5. Keep stirring, and you should see that the syrup thickens as it cools.
6. When it is tepid, stir in the freshly squeezed orange juice. Once cold, strain the liquid and pour into an ice cream machine and churn to a medium set. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the liquid into a shallow plastic container, cover and freeze. Then beat the mixture with a fork every 40 minutes or so, until you have a smooth, even-textured sorbet with tiny ice crystals. Or freeze it and then pop in a food processor and serve.
Refreshing, tasty and extremely delicious!
And, if you want to really wow your guests and have artistic leanings, create a sorbet tree like the one in the picture with warm chocolate and various sorbet flavours!