Ingredients: Per 8 servings
- 2 lb lemons
- 2 cups water
- ½ lb sugar
- 2 egg whites, (optional)
Prepare a simple syrup with the water, sugar and thinly-sliced lemon peel. Boil for 5-6 minutes, then cool completely. Filter the syrup and add the filtered juice from the lemons.
If you have a ice cream maker, add the sorbet base to the machine and run the machine until the sorbet has reached your desired consistency.
Otherwise, put the mixture into a bowl and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Then remove and use a whisk to break apart the ice crystals. Return to the freezer for 10 minutes and repeat, taking care to stir the sorbet from time to time to avoid ice crystals forming.
If you want a fluffier sorbet, you can add two egg whites, whipped to form stiff peaks, when the mixture begins to solidify. Fold in the egg whites carefully using the whisk from the bottom up.
To keep the sorbet form being bitter, make sure that you use only the yellow part of the lemon peel. The pithy white part can be astringent.
The difference between gelato, or ice cream, and sorbet is that milk is used to make the former two, while only water and sugar are used to make sorbet.
Given the simplicity of the recipe, it should come as no surprise that sorbet has been around for a longer time than ice cream. Even in the most remote civilizations, people would use conserve snow and ice in storage rooms below ground so that they could use it in the warmer times of the year. The first record of mixing ice and fruit comes from over 3,000 years ago in China, whereas the people in Mesopotamia seem to have been the first to serve wine frozen or mixed with snow or ice back in the 5th century BC.
In ancient Egypt, it was a custom of the nobles to offer to their guests a silver chalice filled half with ice and half with fruit juice. Even Cleopatra is believed to have served one to Julius Cesar. In fact, the Romans are believed to have been the first ones to create a more dense and sophisticated frozen treat, prepared, according to Pliny the Elder, with ice, honey and fruit.
Modern sorbet probably derives from this preparation. The Arab population in Sicily is credited for having substituted sugar for honey.
Did you known that...
The word sorbet comes from the Arab word sharbet, meaning sweet snow, which in turn comes from the verb sherber, meaning to sip?
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