The change from winter to spring always brings about a change in what I want to eat. I find myself moving away from heavier, comforting foods to dishes that are light and refreshing.
I had a ton of grapefruit left over from making grapefruit curd, and I wanted to make a dessert fit for spring. Sorbet came to mind as a light, fruity alternative to ice cream. I did a lot of research on what makes a good sorbet. There are so many recipe variations! It can get confusing, but there are two main points you want to consider when making sorbet.
Do you want a creamy sorbet or an icy sorbet?
The texture of the sorbet depends a lot on the type of fruit you’re using, and the level of pectin in the fruit. Pectin is a fiber found naturally in the cell walls of fruits; it can act as a thickening agent if cooked properly. Fruits high in pectin lead to a creamier sorbet, whereas fruits lower in pectin lead to a icier sorbet. Citrus fruits contain a high amount of pectin, but it is mostly concentrated within the citrus peel. Since we don’t use grapefruit peel when making this sorbet, we don’t have enough pectin in the juice to yield a creamy texture.
To make up for the lack of pectin, some recipes call for using corn syrup. The addition of corn syrup provides more structure to the sorbet, making it thick and creamy. Serious Eats has a great article on corn syrup in sorbet if you’d like to learn more. The verdict is still out for me on corn syrup. Typically I avoid it, or try to substitute it. With this grapefruit sorbet I’ve avoided it entirely, which results in an icier texture.
Does your sorbet contain the right amount of sugar?
Sugars purpose in sorbet isn’t just to sweeten the fruit. It plays an important role in the structure of the sorbet as well. Use too little sugar, and you risk getting a sorbet that can’t be scooped or possibly won’t freeze. Serious Eats has another great article on the science behind sorbet. They recommend having a sugar concentration between 20-30%.
This can be tricky with fruit because sugar content can vary. It’s important to taste your fruit before using it. The grapefruit I used in this recipe was sweeter than expected, so I had to adjust the amount of sugar. If you find the grapefruit your using to be tart, you can increase the amount of sugar as long as you stay within that sugar ratio.
Grapefruit sorbet is extra delicious with some pomegranate syrup poured over top. Give this sorbet a try and let me know how you like it in the comments!
Grapefruit sorbet is a sweet, refreshing treat packed with lots of citrus flavor.
- 4 cups grapefruit juice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup sugar
- Combine the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a large bowl. Mix to dissolve the sugar.
- Chill the fruit juice mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. *See Note*
- Once chilled, finish the sorbet in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. In my ice cream machine, I let the sorbet run for 15-20 minutes before removing. *See Note*
- Put the sorbet in a freezer safe container, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least an hour.
- Chilling the fruit juice ensures it’s super cold before going into the ice cream machine. If it’s not very cold, the juice won’t set up properly in the ice cream machine. Fruit juice mixture should chill in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. Over an hour is preferred, and you can chill for up to 24 hours covered.
- Every ice cream machine is going to come with recommended churn times, but it’s important to keep an eye on your sorbet. Once I start churning the sorbet, I set a timer to check it after 10 minutes. If it looks like it hasn’t set up completely, I set a timer for another 5 minutes. In my case, I pulled this sorbet out of the ice cream machine between 15-20 minutes when the consistency was mostly icy. Check your sorbet frequently to make sure you take it out of the machine at the right time.
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: grapefruit, sorbet, fruit sorbet, lemon, citrus zest, winter citrus, citrus dessert, frozen fruit