Beet & Ginger Sorbet
My friend Jonathan recently asked me to make a sorbet for a dinner party he was hosting, but by the morning of the dinner party, I still hadn’t decided what to make nor bought any fruit. Then when Anne asked what flavor we should make, playfully saying “sorbeet“, I instantly thought of the two large beets (or “beetroots” as I used to call them back in the UK) I had bought at the farmer’s market two days earlier.
Long time readers of this blog will know our Beetroot Ice Cream recipe, but in the ten years following I have never made a sorbet version.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with a mix of regular sugar (sucrose) and dextrose in sorbets to achieve a sweetness more akin to ice cream while still getting a smooth texture. Typically my sorbet recipes have about 450g sugar for a 2-quart batch, which is twice the sugar I use in an ice cream. In sorbet, you need that extra sugar to depress the freezing point and build enough body to get a nice texture, whereas with ice cream you have fat and other milk-solids that reduce the need for sugar.
So what’s dextrose, you ask? It’s basically powdered corn sugar and it’s useful because it provides nearly twice the impact on freezing point with only three-quarters of the sweetness compared to regular sucrose sugars. I became interested in playing with dextrose when I saw it in recipes in Brooks Headley’s Superiority Burger Cookbook (his sorbets and ice creams are very good). So after a few experiments I’m finding that using 2 parts sucrose to 1 part dextrose produces a nice level of sweetness and a good texture.
As per our Beetroot Ice Cream tests, I know I prefer the flavor of roasted beets (over boiled or raw), so that’s the approach in this Beet Sorbet recipe:
Beet & Ginger Sorbet
AKA Beetroot & Ginger Sorbet - A delicious balanced sorbet with a beautiful color.
- 483 g roasted beets (cooked weight, about 2 large beetroots)
- 24 g fresh ginger (peeled weight) (or more to taste)
- 225 g sugar
- 113 g dextrose
- 265 ml boiling water
- 650 ml cold water
Preheat the oven to 220°C or 425°F.
Scrub the beets and place them in the center of the oven. Roast for about 45-60 minutes, until tender.
Let the beets cool and peel the skin - it should come off easily by rubbing them with your fingers.
Combine the sugar and dextrose and add the boiling water. Stir until it's completely dissolved.
Chop the beet into chunks and transfer to a blender.
Peel and chop the ginger into small pieces and add them to the blender.
Adding enough sugar syrup to keep the blender running, blend on purée mode until the mixture is super smooth.
Add the rest of the syrup and blend until well mixed.
Mix with enough cold water to reach a total volume of about 1.7 L (enough to fill a 2-quart white mountain freezer)
Transfer to the freezer and crank!
I couldn't find dextrose at local grocers here in Brooklyn, so we ordered it online. Sometimes it's sold as "corn sugar."
But if you want to make this recipe without dextrose, I suggest using 450g of regular sugar instead of the 225g sucrose / 113g dextrose listed above.