As much as I love sorbet, and love to develop sorbet recipes, my thoughts don't tend to drift in that direction till the temperature crests at least 60 degrees and the snowflakes are a fond, not a distasteful, memory. As it is 30 degrees as I write this and we had snowflakes ~ in April ~ not two days ago, this sorbet is a bit of an exception.
Two events came together to inspire me to take the ice cream maker out of storage early and think prematurely summery thoughts. First, POM Wonderful sent me a case of their wonderful juice to play with. The second is that my father-in-law ~ one of the best people I know ~ has an April birthday, and he is a very big fan of pomegranate juice, so I wanted to develop something special just for him.
Gampy really enjoys dessert, but my mother-in-law, who is an equally lovely person (yes, I hit the in-law jackpot), works for the sugar police and is careful not to let him enjoy his dessert too much. (Just kidding, Gam!) To make everyone happy, I decided to go with something on the lighter side. Sorbet fit the bill. (There is a significant amount of sugar in the syrup, but since the juice has no added sugar, it works out.)
Gampy Baiting a Fly Hook with My Son ~ Fishing 2008
Besides being high in vitamin C and potassium, pomegranate juice is a great source of tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid ~ three types of polyphenol antioxidants, believed to play a role in preventing heart disease and some forms of cancer. That makes pomegranates something of an antioxidant Superfood.
Pomegranates, native to Iran, have been cultivated since ancient times. In fact, some scholars believe that it was a pomegranate, not an apple, that precipitated the Fall of Man, back in the Garden of Eden. Makes sense to me ~ an apple does seem a little prosaic to be at the root of such a momentous and cataclysmic bad choice.
Pomegranate Punch Sorbet ~ for Gampy
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 12-ounce bag frozen raspberries or 2 cups fresh raspberries
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 cups very cold pure pomegranate juice (I used POM)
- Prepare a simple syrup by combining the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan and bringing to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil and all the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the raspberries.
- Bring the syrup back to a boil, then remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Process the raspberry syrup with an immersion blender ~ be carefully to avoid splatters, it will still be very hot at this point ~ and pour the puree through a strainer to remove seeds. Chill the puree in the refrigerator or in an ice-water bath until completely cold.
- When the raspberry puree/syrup mixture is cold, stir in lemon, orange, and pomegranate juices.
- Taste for sweetness. If the mixture is too tart, you can add a tablespoon or two of honey, agave, or light corn syrup. Do not add granulated sugar at this point, as it may not have a chance to dissolve completely and your sorbet may have a gritty texture.
- Process the pomegranate mixture according to the directions on your ice-cream machine. It will be fairly soft when it's finished, so plan on freezing it for about 4 hours prior to serving if you like a firmer sorbet.
Click here for a printable view of this recipe.
- If you don't have an immersion blender, you can pour the mixture into a heatproof blender canister or use a food mill. If none of these options is available to you, just pour the syrup with the whole berries into the strainer and mash them against the seive with the back of a spoon.
- If you have access to a good source of pomegranates, you can certainly juice your own. But as pomegranates in New York tend to be pricey, I like POM juice. It's 100% pure pomegranate, and I like that they are proprietary over every step of the process from tree to bottle.
- If you have leftover pomegranate mixture that won't fit into your ice cream machine (like I did), lucky you! Keep it in a sealed container in your fridge and add a splash to ginger ale, seltzer, or lemon-lime soda. Or use it to make wine spritzers. Yu-um.