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How To Make Sorbet


The fourth in a series on ice creams, custards and sorbets

Jim Berman CCI


Lemon Basil



Sorbet is little more than sweet water and fruit purée or juice. Therein the simplicity holds vast complexity; just a few ingredients work harmoniously to unfold into clean flavors. No dairy and little air worked into the base bears a sweet invention that is bright, often subtle and bracing.


Using the Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker, the sorbet goes from raw ingredients to finished product in less than half of an hour. The following is a classic sorbet, combining lemon and basil that is woven together to taste like frozen sunshine; sweet, sour, verdant and colorful across the palette.


4 cups, water

4 cups, granulated sugar

1 ½ cups, fresh basil leaves

2 cups, fresh squeezed lemon juice (don’t you even think about using that reconstituted stuff!)

1 Tablespoon, lemon zest (the yellow outer surface of the lemon, less the white pith that lies beneath.)




½ Tablespoon, very, very finely cut chiffonade cross-cut to squares (not mulched!) fresh basil


In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar together to a rolling boil to create simple syrup. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat when sugar appears dissolved. Stir the basil leaves. Pour the syrup/basil mixture into a 2-quart bowl. Set the bowl into a 4-quart bowl filled with ice and water to chill the mixture. When chilled, strain to remove the basil. Pour strained syrup, lemon juice and zest into dessert maker. The Lello Musso Pola runs about 20-25 minutes to reach a set state. Fold in the cut basil and set in a freezer to set.


There are myriad ways to create sorbet. Fruit juices, purées, liqueurs and extracts can all be part of the frozen invention. The flavors should be vibrant and speak eloquently in a clear, crisp voice.


Finished Sorbet

Comments (4)

I really enjoy the profile of lemon and basil in a sorbet. I serve it up in lemon halves too, thanks for all the lovely pictures.
ps. my grandfather , just before he passed away, invited us all over for supper, they made a 7 course seafood extravaganza and your sorbet is what he served to end the meal. He was 78 and had a passion for food and loved the science behind it.
Glad you like the pics! I don't like getting too artsy or staged, so I wrestled with my photographic demons to get those images... haha!
Your grandfather sounds like a true foodie. Those memories, long after the sounds of a voice fade, are kept alive in flavor.
"Those memories, long after the sounds of a voice fade, are kept alive in flavor." Great line.
Thank you! It's true, though, isn't it? I remember my grandfather's pancakes to this very day. He has been gone since 1978, but the thick, floury, over-mixed Bisquick cakes still flavor my palette. His voice barely echoes, but those pancakes on Sunday morning smell as vivid today as they did over 30 years' ago. › How To › How To Make Sorbet