Okay, so I officially dislike making sorbet. It sucks! Don’t set out to make sorbet from scratch if you think it’ll be easy (like me); save yourself the headache, and get an ice cream maker! Last weekend I decided to make the raspberry sorbet from page 490 of Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. I really did chose it because I thought it would be simple to make, but I was very mistaken. It took me two attempts to create something that I could even justify calling sorbet 😉 Let’s just say folding egg white into a raspberry purée is not my favourite activity – here is what happened:
As you can see, the egg white completely separated from the raspberry purée, and so that’s what the final sorbet looked like! I think three things may have contributed to this outcome.
In step 2 of the raspberry sorbet recipe, it says to “Pour into a freezerproof container, then follow steps 2 and 3 of Lime Sorbet…”. So then step 2 of the lime sorbet recipe says to “Strain the lime syrup into a shallow freezerproof container…”. Note the word “shallow”. Well, as I was initially following the raspberry sorbet recipe (which didn’t mention the container depth required), I (naturally) poured the mixture into the deepest container I owned, feeling quite proud about how efficient I had been at getting it all into one container. I would say that my deep container definitely contributed to my purée not freezing to mushy stage fast enough.
The raspberry purée did not freeze to “just mushy” stage. Mary Berry says this should take about 2 hours. After 3 hours and 40 minutes in the freezer my sorbet was STILL mostly liquid, with a few mushy bits having formed around the edges. During this time, I had checked in on it eight times. Yes, EIGHT TIMES!! It was the sorbet equivalent of watching paint dry, but not as much fun. At least after you’ve painted a wall, you’re left with a nice wall to look at – I was left with, well, a useless liquid. I digress. I was confused by the recipe, I mean, what does “until just mushy” mean? Does it mean “until a few mushy bits have formed”, or, “until the entire liquid has turned mushy”? I hate ambiguity.
Stiff But Not Dry
I was very perplexed by this instruction – “Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry…”. What does this mean exactly?? Because I wanted to avoid dry egg whites, I don’t think I whisked my egg whites enough. And then when I tried to fold this into my predominantly liquid and non-mushy raspberry purée, it wasn’t having any of it. There was a lovely pretty pink egg-white layer on top with a nice, deep red purée layer below. Sorbet says no. How frustrating!
The top of the sorbet actually looked quite good – a nicer consistency than my second attempt, in fact! But overall, this sorbet had not worked out:
And so, after a frustrating day spent making a failed sorbet, I’m glad I didn’t get upset. I was disappointed, but determined to have another go another day. Here’s my write-up of the more successful attempt.
Making the Sorbet
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
First, I gathered together all of the ingredients:
- 500 g raspberries
- 175 g granulated sugar
- 600 ml water
- Juice of 1 orange
- 3 egg whites (I used egg whites from large eggs)
Step 2: Purée raspberries
I puréed the raspberries in my NutriBullet in two batches:
Then I pushed the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds. It’s amazing how many seeds they contain!:
Step 3: Boil water and sugar
Next I put the sugar and 600 ml of water into a saucepan and heated it gently until the sugar had dissolved. Then I brought it to the boil and boiled it for 5 minutes. Once boiled, I poured the syrup into a bowl and left it to cool down:
Step 4: Mix syrup, raspberry purée and orange juice
After approximately 40 minutes, I thought the syrup had cooled down enough to a lukewarm temperature. Then I stirred in the raspberry purée and the orange juice:
Step 5: Pour sorbet mixture into containers
I poured the sorbet mixture into three separate freezerproof containers. Last time, as I discussed earlier, I poured it all into one deep container. This time, I poured equal amounts into three containers, so that the liquid was at a shallow depth. I hoped this would help the mixture get mushier more quickly. Putting the sorbet in three containers is also handy because the recipe serves 6 – 8 people, so this way it splits the sorbet into 3 portions for me and Will! The smell of raspberries was so intense!:
Step 6: Freeze sorbet
The recipe says to freeze the sorbet “for about 2 hours until just mushy”. After 1.5 hours the mixture had started to turn a little mushy around the edges, but it was still mainly liquid. After 2 hours it was getting slushier, but I thought it needed more time. Also, the container on the right got mushier a lot quicker than the other two, which was really annoying! So I checked in on the sorbet (what felt like a million times) until I finally took it out after 4 hours and 50 minutes. I thought that it was probably mushy enough (I didn’t want to wait any longer plus it seemed like a ridiculously long time given the recommended 2 hours in the recipe), but as I said earlier on in my post, I have no idea what “just mushy” looks like. Mushy comes in many forms, and I think this sorbet-making has turned my brain into mush too:
Step 7: Whisk mixture
Okay, so for this part I also didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I placed the mixture into a bowl, and then the recipe said to “whisk gently to break down any large crystals”. I started to use my hand whisk to do this, but then Will came along to see what I was doing and said I should go easy as he was worried the mixture would become too liquidy like last time. He’s a scientist, so I took his advice (good wife):
I love the way there is a mini iceberg floating in the mixture below (I think I should at least have whisked this out – these would probably be considered “large crystals” that should have been broken down!):
Step 8: Whisk egg whites and fold into mixture
I whisked the egg whites for a bit longer than my first attempt, but I still have no idea what “stiff but not dry” looks like (please somebody enlighten me):
Then I folded the egg whites into the raspberry mixture:
The mixture seemed to have folded in better than my first attempt, but this time there were lumpy white bits! Maybe the egg white had stuck to some of the larger ice crystals that hadn’t been broken down during the whisking stage (I can blame my husband for that! lol). I transferred the mixture into the three containers ready for freezing. I have to say that the mixture looks really vomit-inducing! I hope it tastes nicer than it looks:
Step 9: Freeze until firm
The recipe says to return the sorbet to the freezer, and freeze until firm. I left it overnight, because I’d had enough of sorbet for one day. When I made the sorbet the first time around, there was an obvious separation line between the raspberry mixture and the egg white. This time, the mixture looked like it had definitely come together better, but it still looked like a little separation had occurred. If I’m brave enough to make sorbet again, I think I would invest in an ice cream maker. I believe this piece of equipment helps to create a smooth texture in your sorbets and ice creams. From reading around, I think this is why Mary Berry adds the egg white to this recipe, because without the aid of an ice cream maker, it’s “supposed” to improve the sorbet consistency (in my case, I am not so sure lol):
Step 10: Transfer sorbet to fridge
I transferred the sorbet to the fridge approximately 30 minutes before serving – this helps to soften it.
Step 11: Decorate sorbet
I decorated the sorbet with a few raspberries and mint sprigs. I was quite excited to take pictures, as I had bought these sundae dishes especially for the occasion (thanks John Lewis – they are great quality!). And so, here I present to you my raspberry sorbet!!:
This sorbet was a big pain in the bottom to make, but it was very nice! It has an intense raspberry flavour and is very sweet. You can’t eat too much of it at a time, but in small portions it is lovely. I think I will definitely be investigating ice cream makers as a result of this experience! Now, what shall I make next week? I think I will have a break from chilled desserts! What are you baking or making these days?