Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Four Berry Sherbet

One of my first experiences with home-made ice cream was at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach. A vendor there sold (and perhaps still does) mango sorbet served in the skin. It was pretty amazing. Since then, I’ve always been interested in making my own icy treats. With summer approaching – even though the June gloom has us a bit on the cool side – it’s time to start concocting all kinds of treats. Making sorbet and sherbets requires a bit of planning and patience. In my case, it takes about two days for the drum on my ice cream maker to chill properly.

I adapted this recipe from Sunset magazine, which is always a great resource. One of the things I like about making ice cream is the science involved. For example, what makes a sherbet a sherbet is the inclusion of a dairy product. In this case, it’s buttermilk. The curds in the buttermilk have bacteria which help improve the sherbet’s consistency. To keep the fat from clumping together, there is citric acid from the lemon. Science!

Four Berry Sherbet


7-8 generous scoops

5 oz. strawberries
5 oz. raspberries
5 oz. blackberries
5 oz. blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 pint (2 cups) low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. Puree berries in a food processor, then rub through a fine strainer into a medium bowl. Discard solids. Stir in remaining ingredients.

2. Place mixture in the freezer for two hours. Every 30 minutes, whisk to break down large ice crystals.

3. Next, place in ice cream maker and churn until desired consistency is achieved.

4. Place in serving dishes and freeze, covered with plastic wrap, for another one to two hours.

5. Serve, garnished with berries.

I think chilling the mixture to near freezing in the freezer is important. The drum in my own ice cream maker quickly loses its cool – so to speak – so I like to add a near frozen mixture to the maker. Because the mixture has been whisked during the chilling process, the oh so important small ice crystals have formed, which ensure that the sherbet doesn’t freeze into a rock hard mass.

Also, in order to get 5 oz. of each kind of berry, I bought a 1 lb. bag of frozen mixed berries, in addition to a basket of fresh berries. I then used my kitchen scale to make sure I pureed 20 ounces of fruit.

Finally, I tried another variation on this using 1 lb. of strawberries and the juice of 2 oranges. I segmented the oranges and placed them in the blender with the strawberries, then added the buttermilk, sugar, etc. Refreshing!


  1. In the words of "The Continental," "Wowie wow wow!"

  2. Excellent summer treats!

  3. Ah, to have an ice cream maker. You lucky dog. Right now I'm saving for my VitaMix.