The only thing sweeter than sorbet at the end of a meal is the virtuous feeling that accompanies eating it. While others may be forking down Trans Fats a la Mode, you're tossing back a light, refreshing dessert whose essence is antioxident-rich fruit.
"Sorbets generally don't contain fat," notes John Dudek, pastry chef at Duane Park Cafe
in New York City, who provided the pomegranate and spearmint-lemon sorbet recipes below. Sure, they have sugar, but less than many other desserts since sorbet recipes are keyed to the tart, natural taste of fruit. On a hot summer night, serving any of these in a frosty martini glass is too cool.
NOTE: An ice cream machine makes whirring up your own sorbets, well, a piece of cake. But if you haven't got one, use the old-fashioned method at the end -- it works just fine.
Serves 6 to 8
If fruits were colleges, the pomegranate would be Harvard. Among its ivy-league nutritional qualities are loads of protective polyphenols and potassium. Pomegranate juice also appears to decrease the thickness of plaque in the arteries.
2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
4 cups sugar
1/3 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
Zest of 1 lime
1. Whisk together pomegranate juice and sugar in a stainless steel bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Stir in lime juice and zest.
3. Chill mixture until cold and process in an ice cream machine, according to the manufacturer's directions.
Serves 6 to 8
Spearmint is a surprisingly good source of vitamin A, fiber, some B vitamins, and iron; lemons are a vitamin C powerhouse. This sorbet is a great choice year round, because both ingredients are almost always in stores.
2 cups sugar
2 cups lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
zest of 1 lemon
1 medium-large bunch of mint
1. Combine the sugar in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until all sugar is dissolved and a simple syrup forms. Chill for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, pick off the mint leaves and place them in a food processor.
3. Combine 2 cups of cold simple syrup, the lemon juice, and 1 cup cold water. Pour mixture over the mint leaves and puree until smooth.
4. Stir in the lemon zest.
5. Chill for 1 hour and then process in an ice cream machine, according to the manufacturer's directions.
The sweetness here all comes from the apple juice concentrate, used in this recipe from chef Beverly Lynn Bennett, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Living.
6 cups honeydew melon, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (plus extra to taste)
1/3 cup freshly chopped mint (plus extra to taste)
1/4 cup lime juice
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth (do in batches if necessary). Taste and add more apple juice concentrate or mint to balance the ripeness of the melon.
2. Chill for 1 hour and then process in an ice cream machine, according to the manufacturer's directions.
Berry Frozen Yogurt
Sometimes your mouth just hankers after something creamy. Enter low-fat yogurt. In this Eating Well
recipe, it gives you almost the same rich effect as heavy cream but without the saturated fat. Throw in the toxin-fighting, heart-protecting flavanoids in all those berries and you're enjoying health by the mouthful.
3 cups fresh or frozen and partially thawed blackberries or raspberries or a mixture of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1. Combine berries, sugar and juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add yogurt and pulse until mixed in. If using fresh berries, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
2. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately or freeze in covered container. (Alternatively, freeze the mixture in a shallow metal pan until solid, about 6 hours. Break into chunks and process in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.)
Strawberry Citrus Sorbet
fave combines different colored fruits (like strawberries and oranges), a key way to ensure a diversity of cancer-fighting phytonutrients. Plus just 1 serving provides nearly a third of your daily vitamin C.
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1. Combine the sugar in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until all sugar is dissolved and a simple syrup forms. Chill for 1 hour.
2. In a blender, puree the strawberries, orange juice, and orange peel until smooth. Gradually add the chilled syrup and blend well.
3. Pour the mixture into a glass dish and cover. Freeze for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Blend again until smooth.
4. Serve immediately or cover and freeze for up to 3 days.
No Ice Cream Maker?
Here's the low-tech way to churn out great sorbet. Place the fruit mixtures in a stainless steel or glass dish and put them in the freezer. When the mixture begins to harden -- about 30 minutes -- take it out and stir it till it's silky. Repeat several times, and voilŠ! Delicious hand-made sorbet.