Apple Sorbets

Tropical fruit sorbets are fashionable, but one can tire of their insistent flavours and vivid colours. For the very best sorbets, apples are hard to beat. In their infinite variety they provide a whole palette of colours, textures and aromas, as well as sorbets for every season. Even if you cannot find the apples to serve a Cornish Aromatic sorbet, a D’Arcy Spice sorbet, a Melcombe Russet or a Green Balsam, consider the perfumed sweetness of a Worceser Pearmain sorbet, or the dry nuttiness of an Egremont Russet. A Granny Smith makes a marvellously tart, mouth-tingling sorbet, and a really ripe flushed Golden Delicious, a mouthful of sweetness.

To prepare apples for a sorbet, quarter and core them, and then roughly chop, and put in a food processor or blender with a couple of tablespoons of water and a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to stop discolouring. I like to keep a little of the peel on for the flecked effect it gives. Blend to a purée, and then mix with the syrup as described below. I find it worthwhile keeping a bottle of syrup on hand for making sorbets.

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Method

To make the syrup, stir 2 ½ lb / 1.10 kg sugar in 1 pt / 570 ml water over a low heat, bring to the boil, and boil for 1 minute. Cool, bottle, and refrigerate.

To make sorbet, mix some syrup with an equal quantity of water, and add fruit pulp in equal volume to the liquid used. Stir in the juice of half a lemon. Blend thoroughly, pour into an ice-cream maker or sorbetière, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The mixture can also be frozen in a container in the freezer or ice-making compartment of a refrigerator. As the mixture freezes and crystals form, it will need to be stirred from time to time. To ensure a smooth sorbet, it is quite a good plan to give it its final stir in a food processor before putting it back in the freezer. Sorbets are best eaten within a few hours of being made.

I prefer to use raw apples, but interesting variations can be created with different apples cooked to a purée and then flavoured with cinnamon, cloves or cardamom. For another version, simply freeze cider into a sorbet.

If you have picked lots of apples or pears, it is worth freezing them for making instant sorbets. Peel, core and quarter the fruit, brush with lemon juice to stop it discolouring, and open-freeze it on a tray before putting into labelled bags. To make an instant sorbet, put the fruit pieces in a food processor with a little cold water (about 4 tablespoons per 1 lb / 455 g of fruit) and the sugar syrup to taste. Switch on and process until smooth. Pile into glasses and serve immediately.

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