Cranberries are somewhat foreign to us South Africans as this fruit has never been and cannot be cultivated here. Growing up, I knew they were a slightly tart berry that appeared on our Christmas table in the form of a jelly, but other than that, you simply could not get them. We started seeing dried cranberries emerge a few years ago, and luckily these are now readily available and I prefer them to raisins in my baking.
The story continues…….
When I was working as a brand manager for Pillsbury years ago, we launched a cranberry and orange muffin variant to our range of pre mixes and the fruit had to be imported. I remember scouring South Africa for any frozen berries to use in our packaging photo shoot which always depicted the main particulate ingredient alongside the baked muffin. None was found.
So when I saw Hillcrest Berry Orchards had added a frozen cranberry to their range of frozen berries (which I use all the time) I had to buy it immediately. I also knew straight away that I wanted to make a cranberry and orange sorbet. It really is just a perfect flavour partnership. They import the berries from Europe because we do not have the right climate to grow cranberries in South Africa.
I had seen that Brandon Matzek from Kitchen Konfidence, a blog I so enjoy for the innovative flavour combinations and recipe ideas, had posted a cranberry sorbet recipe around thanksgiving and I used this as my starting point. I wanted mine to have a stronger orange flavour, so I used more orange juice than lemon and with all my sorbet’s, I like to add a good splash or two of booze. It helps with the texture and flavor. I also like to add a beaten egg white right at the end of the churn to loosen it up.
I got a little carried away and more or less doubled the recipe quantity because I wanted to use up all the 350g of cranberries, but realised during the churn that this was a mistake. The sorbet took much longer to freeze due to the larger volume and this caused a little crystallization in the final product. I have halved the quantity I made for the recipe here, and more along Brandon’s volumes which is much more manageable.
- 1 3/4 cup frozen / fresh cranberries
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- grated zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2T lemon juice
- 1T vodka
- 1T lemoncello (or another tablespoon of vodka)
- 1 egg white, beaten to stiff peaks
- Add the water, cranberries, sugar and zest to a medium pot and bring this to the boil. All this to simmer for about 3 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes - 1 hour.
- Strain this mixture through a fine wire mesh sieve, ensure all the juice is extracted. To this liquid, add the orange and lemon juice, vodka and lemoncello and cool in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
- Process the juice through an ice cream machine until it is ready. Just before removing the sorbet, add the beaten egg white and briefly allow this to integrate.
- Remove and decant into a suitable freezer container, cover and freeze until ready to serve.
~Cooks notes – My sorbet wasn’t quite the same vibrant red hue as Brandon’s (even before adding the egg white) and I’m not sure why, but the flavour was lovely. I reduced the amount of sugar to half a cup because I used more orange juice which is sweeter, but test and see if you would like to add more. With ice cream and sorbet making, the flavour you get from the unfrozen base mix is pretty close to what the final product will taste like. Bear in mind that the freezing does soften both flavour and sugar levels slightly. When serving sorbet or ice cream, always remove it from the freezer ahead of time and allow it to soften slightly at room temperature. This tempering greatly enhances the flavour and eating experience.
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