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Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 05:23 am

Cranberry sherbet

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After my husband’s mother died the year after we were married, he said he’d like to find or make cranberry sorbet, something she’d always made for Thanksgiving. It had always been one of Peter’s favorite parts of the meal, but now it would also be a way of remembering her. In those pre-Internet days, we searched in vain for a recipe, until the November 1974 issue of Gourmet arrived. It contained a recipe for cranberry sherbet, almost as if in response to our quest. The sherbet has been an integral part of our holiday celebrations ever since, though we don’t limit it to holidays.

 We serve cranberry sherbet during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but it also makes a refreshing dessert. Additionally, a small scoop in the bottom of a champagne glass filled with sparkling wine makes for a festive aperitif. It can also be mixed with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda into a delicious slush/punch, with or without the addition of vodka. 

  • 4 c. fresh or frozen cranberries (keep frozen before measuring)

  • ½ c. sugar plus 2 c. sugar, divided

  • ¾ c. fresh lemon juice

  • 1/3 c. orange juice


Combine cranberries, ½ c. sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the cranberries are completely softened and the skins have popped, 7-10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

In another saucepan, combine the 2 c. sugar and 3 cups water over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool at least to room temperature.

Purée the cranberry mixture through a sieve or food mill. Discard skins and combine with the sugar syrup. Mix in the lemon and orange juices. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Alternatively, place mixture in a shallow pan and put in the freezer. Stir every 15 minutes until frozen. This results in an icier, coarser texture; however, many prefer it to the finer texture obtained in an ice cream maker. Makes about 2 quarts.

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