Summer fruit sorbets

Heat, simmer, bruise, submerge.

It sounds like mad instructions for a World War II Atlantic convoy submarine battle. But no, it’s the easiest summer dessert.

My recipe instructions are becoming a cramped shorthand of little notes. This is all I have next to the sorbet headline. That and the formula for syrup.

I did a spot of sorbet research last summer as I had a glut of not only fruit; but also house guests.  And feeding armies is never easy when your nearest shop is a long car drive away. So I wanted to have something put by that could be hauled out and delight the taste buds and not send me into a catering tizz.  And there is something relaxed and timeless about serving your own fruit from the orchard for dessert.

8-peaches-newHere is what I learned. You can work very hard to make a perfect sorbet. Egg whites can be invoked.  Or you can cut corners and come up with my easy delicious ice.

My sorbets come in two simple parts; I make a syrup, and I puree fruit.  I combine both and freeze. That’s it.

And I have a clever solution to the crystals forming while it chills (more later).

The trick for such a simple sorbet is to have knockout flavours. And for that I spike my sugar syrup with aromatics from the garden.  Mint works. Lemon verbena  is a winner; but very few can guess what on earth is that extra flavour in my favourite apricot sorbet. Scented pelargonium leaves.

8 mirabelles in basket

I have an unhealthy obsession with my scented pelargonium plant. Crush the leaves and you get the most wonderful blast of Turkish Delight scent on your fingers. Truly. It’s better than any delicate wafty rose.  I think it’s actually called Candy Dancer, and really, it’s pure confectionary.  And you can take endless cuttings to grow into yet more plants and give them away.  I keep my plants in the potting shed near the door so I can squeeze the leaves as I pass.  And am forever finding crushed and dying leaves in my pockets when I eventually get round to laundering.

Fruit Sorbet


The syrup

  • 115 grams (4oz, ½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 200 ml (4.2 fl oz) water
  • 2 large aromatic leaves – mint, lemon verbena or scented pelargonium

The fruit

  • 500 grams (17 oz, 2 heaping cups) of any fresh fruit. 

    My favourites are apricots, raspberries, plums.  But you can try grapes, peaches and nectarines if the wasps haven’t beaten you to them.