Sherbet, sorbet and granita: refreshing frozen desserts

Try these three refreshing palate-pleasers on a hot summer day or when you're trying to channel a tropical vibe during the dead of winter.

Sherbet, sorbet and granita: refreshing frozen desserts

1. Sunshine sherbet

Canned milk is heated to evaporate excess moisture, a process that partially cooks the milk, creating a wonderfully toasty, caramelized aroma. That's the secret behind the rich flavour of this simple lemon-orange sherbet.

Prep time 5 min
Cook time 10 min
Makes 2 litres (2 quarts)

  • 400 g (2 c) sugar
  • 350 ml (1 1/2 c) water
  • 500 ml (2 c) milk
  • 500 ml (2 c) heavy cream
  • 750 ml (1 1/2 c) orange juice
  • 1 can (350 ml/12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 75 ml (1/3 c) fresh lemon juice
  • 10 g (2 tsp) grated orange peel
  • 8 drops red food colouring (optional)
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) yellow food colouring (optional)
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil, then boil for five minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  2. Add the milk, cream, orange juice, ­evaporated milk, lemon juice, orange peel and food colouring, if using. Mix well.
  3. Pour the sherbet into the cylinder of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: To enhance the tropical flavours, add two millilitres (1/2 teaspoon) almond extract to the sugar and water just before removing from the heat.

No ice cream maker needed

  • Make this sorbet even without an ice cream maker.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 28 x 18-centimetre (11 x seven-inch) glass baking dish and freeze until fairly firm, about three hours.
  • Transfer to a food processor and pulse the mixture until smooth and serve immediately.

2. Lime sorbet

With a splash of tequila, this grown-up version of lime sorbet becomes a frozen margarita. You might just want to salt your spoon between bites.

Prep time 10 min
Cook time 5 min
Serves 8

  • 500 ml (2 c) water
  • 200 g (1 c) sugar
  • 175 ml (3/4 c) fresh lime juice
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) tequila
  • 75 ml (1/3 c) orange juice
  • 5 g (1 tsp) grated fresh lime zest
  1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and cook two minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice, tequila, orange juice and lime zest. Cool completely.
  3. Pour the sorbet into the cylinder of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.

3. Pear granita

Granitas are easy-to-make granular ice desserts that are great for dinner parties. The combination of pear and crushed fennel seeds gives this one a complex flavour that will have your guests raving. Make them guess your secret ingredient!

Prep time 15 min
Cook time 5 min
Serves 6

  • 100 g (1/2 c) sugar
  • 75 ml (1/3 c) water
  • 5 g (1 tsp) fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 500 ml (2 c) pear nectar
  1. Combine the sugar, water and fennel seeds in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar ­dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer two minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the syrup to a medium bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the syrup into a large glass measure. Add the pear nectar, mixing well. Pour into a 20-centimetre-square (eight-inch-square) glass baking dish and freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the freezer and, with a fork, scrape any ice that has formed on the sides of the dish to the centre.
  4. Return the pan to the freezer and repeat the process every 30 minutes until the mixture is icy and granular, two-and-a-half to three hours longer.

Tip: To speed up the process, chill the syrup by setting the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Stir the syrup with a clean spoon every few minutes.

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