For a long time, for me, sorbets conjured up images of formal, multi-course dinners served by uniformed staff. Tiny, fine china bowls of frozen citrusy goodness presented between courses as a palate cleanser, and then efficiently whisked away by footmen. Or was it the butler?
No matter. The point is, sorbets have come a long ways from being an intermission palate cleanser. They’re the perfect celebration of fresh fruit flavor at its zenith, and couldn’t be easier to make – as long as you have a freezer. For best results, I recommend you use fruit that’s in season and of top quality. This is not the time to use that basket of limp, forgotten strawberries tucked in the back of the vegetable drawer. And in the case of chocolate, this is the time to splurge, as you WILL taste the difference.
At its simplest, sorbets are essentially sugar + water + flavor (juice or fruit purée). For this sorbet, I started with a confidant, sultry, dark chocolate as my core flavor. I then added strained apricot purée to bring out its fruity tones, and finished with some warming cinnamon and cardamom spices. The result reminds me of a frozen Mexican hot chocolate that erupts rich chocolatiness. If you like chocolate, this might be the best sorbet you’ve ever had.
Spiced Chocolate Sorbet
- Makes a little more than 1 pint.
- The addition of the apricot jam slows down the firming up of the sorbet, necessitating an overnight stay in the freezer, as indicated in the directions below.
- Before serving, you can slow the sorbet melting in the bowl by freezing the bowl for 30 minutes.
- For any sorbet that is too hard when it’s removed from the freezer, place it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to slightly soften it.
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup strained apricot preserves
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Combine the water and sugars in a medium pot over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and add the chocolates all at once and stir until completely melted and absorbed into the sugar-water. This can take 5 – 10 minutes. Check by dipping a spoon into the liquid and removing it. You should not see any individual granules of chocolate – or at least not very many. Don’t be tempted to reheat unless the liquid is complete cold, as chocolate doesn’t need very much heat to melt. Too much heat can ruin the chocolate.
- Warm the apricot preserves and strain. Add the strained apricot purée and spices to the chocolate.
- Cool to room temp and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Process in an ice cream maker following the directions of your ice cream maker, and put in a container and place in the freezer overnight. It should be perfectly set up by morning.