cranberry and orange sorbet

cranberry and orange sorbet

cranberry and orange sorbet

cranberry and orange sorbet

cranberry and orange sorbet

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.

cranberry and orange sorbet

cranberry and orange sorbet

Print Recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:3 minutes
Total Time:1 day


  • 1 3/4 cup frozen / fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T vodka
  • 1 T 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.
Servings: 1 quart / about half a litre

~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.

cranberry and orange sorbet

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  1. This looks incredible, love the vintage pan your using

  2. Thanks Cheri, it’s an old bread tin which when lined works so well for ice cream. easy to scoop.

  3. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  4. Thanks Jen and thanks for the share on FB x

  5. Thanks Hari 🙂

  6. Hi,

    I don’t have an ice cream machine, is there any other option?

    Loved this recipe.

  7. Hi Georgia, I have always made ice cream in a machine. If you Google or look on David’s site, you will find a plethora of articles on how to make sorbet and ice cream by hand. You will need to play around.

  8. I do not want use Vodka what can I sub? I cannot wait to make this recipe thank you so much???.

  9. HI Susan, I like to use a little alcohol when making sorbet as it helps to soften the texture slightly. Vodka is very neural in flavour so works well. Another liqueur? – an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau would be nice… but if you are looking for no alcohol, just leave it out.

  10. This isn’t sorbet. Sorbet is puréed fruit and sugar frozen. There is zero need for egg to be in sorbet. -_- that’s like putting mayo in quacamole. You can call it a frozen dessert but it’s not sorbet.

  11. Hi Seri, the egg white gives the sorbet a really great texture and acts as a stabiliser. It is widely used by professionals for this purpose. It can still be called a sorbet. This article gives more info.


    “Adding (raw) whipped egg whites

    When it comes to sorbets, a particularly popular method – also favoured by many professionals – is adding whipped egg whites. Egg whites consist of proteins and pack quite some stabilising punch: when whipped, the egg whites will capture and retain a lot of air – very important for the consistency of any frozen dessert.”

    “Adding (egg whites in the form of) classic Italian meringue

    Combining classic, soft-baked Italian meringue and sorbets was once the way to prepare sorbets in a truly professional way. And this is not the kind of meringue you would serve on the side, or use for visual, crumbled pleasure as add-in/add-on. No, this is the kind which pastry chefs with a sense of quality and pride in their frozen creations would use to mix into the sorbets as an integral building block.

    The benefit of the Italian meringue is basically that it – much like a whipped-up egg white – captures and retains a lot of air. But the meringue is more stable, and will retain the air better. The meringue, once added, will disperse wholly into the sorbet – and ensure a smooth, scoopable consistency, increased durability in the freezer and, arguably, an extra depth to the whole tasting experience. When done properly, it should also be ‘safe’ to eat.”

  12. Pam Hicks says:

    Absolutely delicious! Mine was a beautiful berry color, even with the eggs white. Must have been the cranberries. We use Ocean Spray here in the States. I purchased a great Vodka so that there would be no ethanol flavor and it just blended in. Could not tell it was there. But, I agree, it keeps the texture perfect! Thanks so much for a wonderful recipe.

  13. Hi Pam, thanks for the lovely message and letting me know. Made my day 🙂

  14. Gabriela Jacobs says:

    Hey hey Sam, I want to make a orange sorbet on it’s own to add to my champers for a new fresh take on mimosa’s. Can I just leave out the cranberrie’s and add more orange juice?

  15. Hi Gabriela – sorry for the late reply – perhaps just google an orange sorbet recipe. As I havent tested this its difficult to say 100%

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