Sherbet is a dessert that is different from ice-cream, in that it uses water or juice, instead of milk. Called ‘sorbet’ in Europe, the most common flavours are fruity, although other flavours like coffee do exist. In Italy, shaved ice desserts are also popular, invented as a way to cool down, during hot Sicilian summers.
Sorbet is more popular in Italy than England, but it’s a lovely light dessert, has less calories than ice-cream and is a great way to use up leftover fresh produce like berries. This raspberry sorbet (A Pinch of Parsley) only needs four simple ingredients, and is far nicer than anything you’ll find in shops. Real sugar is really best, but you can use maple syrup if preferred, though it will be more expensive. Never use xylitol anywhere near pets, it’s lethal.
All you need are berries, sugar, vanilla and lemon – and water! You don’t even need an ice-cream maker. If using frozen berries, blend first as you may need to adjust the water amount. You can also make this sorbet with strawberries or blackberries. Whichever fruit you use, strain it before freezing, to ensure it’s smooth and creamy. You can also add some fresh mint leaves, for a more refreshing dessert. The sorbet will last in the freezer for up to a month, in an airtight container.
Did you know that sorbet was created by people in ancient Rome, who would mix snow from the mountains with fruits, as a way to keep cool in hot summers? It’s also good as a palate cleanser, between courses.
This refreshing Homemade Rhubarb Strawberry Sorbet (Crumbs & Caramel) is a simple dessert, and far better than bland store-bought supermarket sorbets. Inspired by Italian shaved ice, it’s a wonderful recipe to use up a glut of summer fruits. Real sugar is key here to sweeten, or you’ll end up with a ‘giant block of ice!’ Due to oxalic acid, avoid rhubarb for Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS or issues with kidneys. Keep rhubarb away from pets, again due to oxalic acid.
The proper sorbets in Italian restaurants are far better and often served in the shells of lemons and oranges. Or Limoncello is a ‘liquid sorbet’ made from vodka and lemon juice, that is often served in Italy as a dessert, even though it’s a drink. If you’ve never tried it, do so. It’s proper lemony, and delicious (you can keep it in the freezer, as the vodka stops it going solid). The original version is vegan-friendly (not ‘cream of Limoncello drinks). Try this 3-Ingredient Limoncello Spritz (Crowded Kitchen).