Those who have been following the Great Apple Cider Ice Cream Experiment know that I have now made several attempts to come up with a dairy-based apple cider ice cream treat (as catalogued here). Now it’s time to try another route: sorbet.
This makes a lot of sense as a product for the farm for a couple of reasons. First, sorbets are already a natural route for fruit, since sorbet is simply frozen flavored water (i.e., fruit juice or puree) and sugar. This means you don’t need to do anything fancy, like reduce the cider to remove the liquid, as you do in ice cream. Sorbet is pretty much its natural state.
This would also be a great way to provide a packaged version of an awesome product they already offer on the farm called Cider Slush. A frozen treat made purely of frozen cider and served up in a cup like a soft serve ice cream. Think cider icee.
This is a local favorite in Upstate New York during the hot and sticky months towards the end of summer and early fall. A sorbet riff on this could be a way to offer folks a version of this tasty treat from the comfort of their homes year-round.
This first sorbet recipe I elected to try was a winner because it uses both apples and cider. (Maximizing the number of products we produce on the farm is one of the objectives of the experiment.) The process turned out to be a lot like making apple sauce, and the final product reflected this in both taste and texture.
Vanilla bean and cinnamon are first baked with the apples and cider to give it a nice apple pie spice flavor. The apples are next pureed and strained, then chilled and frozen. The end result is a sweet-as-pie-filling treat that’s simultaneously refreshing and comforting.
My version had a graininess to it; not necessarily a bad thing, but gave the impression of frozen applesauce. To make a silkier sorbet, I would recommend pureeing the apple to the smoothest, finest consistency you can manage, and in the straining stage not necessarily attempting to sieve every last bit of apple through.
Cider sorbet is a lovely treat, and this version won’t disappoint. But I don’t think I’ve quite nailed the perfect product yet, so the experiments will continue. Meantime, enjoy!
Apple & Spice Sorbet
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 6 medium apples (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled, cored and quartered
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients, including vanilla bean and seeds, in a 9×13 in. baking dish. Toss to mix and coat apples completely.
- Cover dish loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the apples are tender (test with a fork). Remove from oven and let cool. Remove the vanilla bean.*
- Puree the baked apple mixture in batches in a food processor until smooth.
- Prepare an ice bath by placing a smaller bowl into large bowl filled with ice. Force the apple mixture through a sieve into the smaller bowl. Stir until cool. Cover and refrigerate until fully chilled.
- Pour the sorbet base into ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturers instructions, being careful not to over freeze.
- Transfer the sorbet into a freezer container, press a piece of parchment paper directly over the surface of the sorbet, and cover with a lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Yields: 1 quart
*NOTE: That vanilla bean is expensive, so don’t waste it! A tip I learned from a pastry instructor is you can reuse that bean pod for future baking. After you remove the bean pod from the apple bake, simply rinse and pat it dry. Then place it back on a baking sheet and dry in the warm oven for about 15 mins, or until dried out (just dry it, don’t over bake it). Nestle the dried bean pod in 2 cups of granulated sugar and store in an air tight container for 1-2 weeks. The sugar will soak up the vanilla flavor and become a lovely vanilla sugar that you can use to flavor your coffee or to add a little extra vanilla flavor to baked goods.
Adapted from: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home