Granted, it may be a little chronologically inappropriate to post a cranberry recipe as we’re heading into summer on this continent. But the tartness of this sorbet makes it a refreshing palate cleanser even in the height of our dog days. The rosemary also lends an unexpected, yet seasonally appropriate garden note.
Yield: About 3 1/4 cups sorbet
Prep Talk: Be sure to read the instructions for your particular ice cream/sorbet maker before you start. I use a Cuisinart model with a bin that must be frozen until the cooling agent inside is completely solid, typically overnight. Don’t rush this step; if the bin isn’t completely solid, your sorbet will never freeze. Also thoroughly chill the sorbet base before attempting to churn it. If the base is too warm to start, it can thaw your freezer bin, again preventing the freezing of the sorbet.
- 3/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 2 1/4 cups pure cranberry juice with no additional sugar (I use Lakewood brand.)
- Leaves from 2 1/2 to 3 (4- to 5-inch) sprigs rosemary (a scant 1/4 cup, loosely filled; be sure to remove the woody stems)
- Zest from 1/2 to 3/4 large (about 7 1/2-ounce) orange
1 | Prep the sorbet base. Combine the Cabernet Sauvignon and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium (3-quart) saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Flambé the mixture by igniting it with a long-reach lighter. Let the mixture boil until the flame completely dies out (less than 1 minute) and continue to boil until the mixture is roughly reduced by half (another minute or two). Note: Not to scare you or anything, but do take a step back when you ignite the mixture and make sure there is nothing near the pan that could also possibly ignite. It’s important not to skip this step, because if you don’t burn off the alcohol in the wine, the sorbet will have trouble firming up. (Overly high concentrations of alcohol and sugar can prevent sorbet and ice cream from freezing.) If the thought of burning liquid intimidates you, then replace the wine with cranberry juice and skip the torching of it.
Add the remaining sugar and cranberry juice to the pan and return the mixture to a full boil. Turn off the heat, add the rosemary leaves and orange zest, and let those ingredients steep in the hot liquid about 30 minutes. (The heat will draw the flavor from the rosemary and orange zest into the liquid. In culinary-speak, this technique is called “infusing,” and the hot mixture is referred to as an “infusion.”) Note: I caution against substituting a sweetened cranberry juice; unless you decrease the quantity of added sugar above, you may find yourself with a slushy, not fully frozen sorbet.
Remove the rosemary and zest by straining the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl. Discard the solids now that their flavor is spent.
Cover the sorbet base and chill until completely cool. I often accelerate this process by pouring it into a shallow pan and placing the pan in the freezer.
2 | Freeze the sorbet base. Pour the chilled base into the chamber of your ice cream/sorbet maker, and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The sorbet will increase in volume (and lighten in color) as it churns so be sure to leave a little spare room at the top. With my Cuisinart, I typically churn no longer than 30 minutes, after which point the sorbet rarely gets any firmer because the freezer bin starts to warm up.
Immediately after churning, the sorbet will still be rather soft, so I typically wrap the bin tightly with plastic wrap and/or foil and place it in the freezer for another 2 to 3 hours before serving.
3 | Serve it forth. Scoop the sorbet and serve it straight up, as I have above. Or for added Christmas holiday flair, cut off the tips of rosemary sprigs to make tiny “Christmas trees,” dollop some whipped cream on top of the sorbet, and plant a few mini trees on top of each serving.