Orangette's Blackberry Sorbet

by Joseph Russell · August 4, 2008

    orangetteRecently, one of my friends has become obsessed with berry-picking. Last month it was blueberries; now she's moved on to their purple cousins. Yesterday, she picked 13 pounds of blackberries, a feat I might find concerning if I could stop stuffing myself with one of its resulting pies. Not being in a baking mood today, I decided I'd make a sorbet with the contents of the bucket that showed up on my doorstep.  The version Molly Wizenberg posted on her ridiculously charming food blog Orangette looks perfect, simple and tasting mostly of the berries, with just a whisper of raspberry dessert wine.

    Blackberry Bonny Doon Sorbet

    We used Bonny Doon’s delicious “Framboise” dessert wine for this, but you could certainly play with using other types, or even a good crème de cassis. Framboise is made from raspberries—hence its name, en français—and has wonderfully intense, rich, sweet-tart flavor. It doesn’t come through forcefully in the sorbet, but if you look for it, it’s there. Also, the presence of a bit of alcohol helps to keep the sorbet from getting rock-hard in the freezer, which is always a bonus in my book. You never know when you’ll need a spoonful straight from the container.

    2 lbs fresh blackberries, washed but not thoroughly dried

    4 Tbs light corn syrup*, plus more to taste

    ¾ cup granulated sugar

    ¼ cup water

    ¼ cup Bonny Doon Framboise dessert wine

    Place half of the berries in the bowl of a food processor, and purée until very smooth. Remove the puréed berries to a bowl, and repeat with the remaining berries. Set aside.

    In a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup, sugar, water, and ½ cup of the berry purée. Place the pan over medium heat, and warm the mixture, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to medium high, and boil the mixture for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and let cool for ten or so minutes.

    Add the sugar mixture to the berry purée, and stir until smooth. Add ¼ cup dessert wine, and stir to incorporate. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the mixture to remove any lumps and seeds; you may need to use a rubber spatula or spoon to gently push the purée through the sieve. Rinse the sieve well; then strain the purée again. This helps to ensure a very smooth texture. Taste the finished purée: it should be slightly sweeter than you want it to be. (Once it is frozen, it will taste less sweet.) If needed, add more corn syrup a teaspoon at a time, stirring well with each addition. [We added about a tablespoon, but this will vary according to the sweetness of your berries.]

    Place the purée in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, and then freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Yield: 1 generous quart

    * There is a lot of controversy these days about corn syrup, but I choose to include it in some ice creams and sorbets because it helps to ensure a smooth, less icy texture.

    [Image via Orangette]