Hello ice creamers! Fall is kicking in. The crisp is in the air and the leaves are the perfect crunchiness. This is the time of year that I would make my mom a leaf bouquet when I was younger. Now fall tends to be a bit more stressful than looking for that perfect leaf. I did have fall break to recharge my batteries to settle in for the last push of the semester. This week I made a cranberry apple sorbet perfect for the season. It is called Yes I Cran! as a little play on words but also as one of those positive affirmations I can look at as I dig into this pint.
So…what exactly is a sorbet? Well it is actually one of the few foods that do not have a defined standard of identity in the United States. It is closest to an ice, which contains fruit, fruit juices and extracts. The sugar content ranges from 28-32%, about twice that of normal ice cream. This high sugar content comes from the fruit , which harbors lots of fructose. The sugar, as with most everything in life, has a happy medium. If too much sugar is present, the sorbet will be soft and sticky. Too little sugar and they become hard and crumbly. The amount of air in sorbet is much less than ice cream, about 20% to 100%.
The total amount of solids in a sorbet is much less than normal ice cream. This makes sense right? Normally in ice cream, it is a pint of milk, cream, sugar, water, air and stabilizer molecules all swimming around and bumping into one another. These molecules find something they are attracted to and they hold hands with it, tightly. In sorbet, there aren’t that many solids; just sugar, fruit and water. The sugar molecules can be like those catty girls in high school. You know, the ones who break off from the rest of the group to gossip? If there are too many sugar molecules (catty girls) to other solids (norm people), the sugars form a clump permanently. They make a crumbly party and sorbet. To help bring the sugar molecules back into the mixture of things, stabilizers are used heavily. These are like the Troy Bolton’s of the sorbet world. They reunite the catty girls and the normal folks into a big happy group.
One last little thought pebble about sorbets. Sugars like to raise the freezing point of a substance, and therefore lower the melting point. These little sugar molecules like to cause all sorts of trouble! The higher sugar content of the sorbet, the more likely it is to melt faster at room temperature. To keep the pint in happy harmony, it is best to freeze sorbets at a lower temperature than ice creams.
Experimental Apparatus and Procedure
The first step in creating this lovely frozen creation was to make boiled cider. This was actually just a great ruse to buy some apple cider, which I adore. I boiled down a cup of cider to create a rich deliciousness. Next I prepared my fruits for cooking. I peeled the skin off of the apple to remove some of that toughness that could impart an off texture in the final product. I also wanted to avoid any of the waxiness that I experience with fruit, especially with my orange-pineapple flavor.
Once I chopped it into small chunks, it was time to call in the big guns; the cranberries. These were very difficult to find in the store, and are not available fresh in my local grocer because of a shortage in the surrounding area. Curse you wonderful Indian Summer! You didn’t get cold enough to ripen the crans! The apples and cranberries were combined in a saucepan and allowed to come to a nice roiling boil. It boiled for a while and finally I added the sugar (just a few granules) and the boiled cider, until it formed a thick, almost jam-like liquid.
Next I used an immersion blender to make it smooth and remove any fibrous bits that could have been remaining. The color was simply spectacular, like a vibrant sunset. I ran it through a fine strainer to make extra double sure that it was as smooth as could be.
Then it was time to churn. I used my mom’s self-freezing machine. Please note that I poured it slightly messy and got reprimanded for it. It churned into a lovely sorbet that looked, smelled and tasted just as I hoped it would. I did get to eat the leftovers in the bowl!
I just had to step away from my computer to have a quick re-taste of this flavor. I don’t want to misconstrue this flavor to you! Lets start with the texture. All of that blending and peeling and straining made it so smooth. The ice crystals are larger than ice cream but they are not disruptive to the overall goodness.
The flavor is not quite an 50:50 ratio of apple to cranberry. It is more like 20:80. The apple taste hits initially with the sweetness and the cider, but then the tart cranberry takes over the taste buds. Even with all of the sugar-y goodness, the tartness still reigns. And I am not complaining about it! It is a clean scoop and doesn’t require much effort. This flavor is able to be eaten by the pint, and I am slating it for the fall to winter flavors in my future shop. I would perhaps add another apple to this flavor, and some stabilizer to hold everything in its proper place, but other than that, I would plop this in a display case tomorrow!
I have returned safely from my whirlwind adventure to Wisconsin! And what an adventure it was! The Lord surely is making sure I stick to my 2017 resolution to have more patience! My plane was delayed for more than 5 hours, causing me to have to reschedule my connecting flight twice. Once I finally landed in Milwaukee, I drove two hours in a rental car the size of a soda can. But I will say, the hotel room was lovely.
My visit with the professor there was also lovely. It gave me much to think about in terms of my future career goals and degree options. As many of you may know, I am quite a stubborn girl. So with all of the food for thought I was given, I chewed it up and used it as fuel to carry on. That’s the way I was raised and will continue to be. Go strong girls!
This week’s fun fact is about my pet hamster Maillard, aka May, cutie girl, girlfriend or little one. She has been very skittish and timid since I got her in August. She is making some progress to being my friend though! Each morning I put two sunflower seeds in my palm inside her cage. Every time she runs around my hand and usually bites my fingertips, but she climbs on my hand and stuffs the seeds in her mouth before sprinting away. She is so incredibly soft, but we aren’t at the petting stage yet. Stay tuned!
Well my friends, I do believe it is time for us to part ways. But never fear, I will return next week! Leave any comments below! Scoop ya later!