Published July 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.
The most important ingredient in raspberry sorbet isn’t the raspberries. It’s the water.
The majority of homemade sorbets have big, jagged crystals that raze the tongue—and are so hard they’re impossible to get out of the carton. Others are crumbly, coarse, and dull.
We were determined to figure out a way to pull off the perfect batch of raspberry sorbet that could hold its own against ice cream any day.
To get sorbet with the ideal consistency, adding both water and sugar is crucial, as the two work in tandem. Our challenge was achieving just the right balance of each. The problem was that our optimal amount of sugar made the sorbet require too much water, which compromised its texture. Fortunately, we had an idea about how to minimize the water while minimizing ice crystals: separating out a small amount of the base and freezing it separately, then adding it back into the rest of the sorbet. Because the small portion froze much more rapidly than if we tried to freeze the whole batch, there wasn’t enough time for large crystals to grow, and instead very small ice crystals formed. Then, when we added this frozen mix back to the rest of the base, the tiny crystals acted as a catalyst, triggering a chain reaction that very rapidly formed equally small crystals in the bigger mix. Substituting corn syrup for some of the sugar also helped minimize ice crystals.
The raspberries’ natural pectin and an additional bit of powdered pectin (bloomed first in water) kept the sorbet from immediately puddling without overdoing the firmness.
Our final step was perfecting the churning time. We found that 18-20 minutes was the best time range, but even more important was a visual cue that indicated the sorbet was done churning: the color of the mixture began to lighten up considerably soon after it started to thicken. This was a sure sign that it was beginning to take on air and was in need of a transfer to the freezer.list of recipes