There is a local frozen custard stand that people in our area have been flocking to since I was a little kid. For the longest time, they only had one location, but opened a second one a handful of years ago. The custard is phenomenal, but what I really love is that they don’t close up shop after Labor Day; they stay open until Thanksgiving, which means I can continue to get my frozen custard fix right up until the holidays. Last year, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I stopped for a little dessert right before Thanksgiving and they were out of his beloved orange sherbet, but they did have a cranberry sherbet, which he tried and absolutely loved. He talked about that sherbet for months, so once cranberries were in the stores again, I snatched some up so I could make a frozen cranberry treat perfect for this time of year.
I chose to go with a sorbet instead of a sherbet for this recipe, as I find sorbets to be much lighter. While a sherbet isn’t as heavy as ice cream, it’s certainly more on the creamy side. Thanksgiving dinner is basically the king of all meals, right? I feel like no matter how little I take of any one thing, I walk away from the table totally stuffed. However, I absolutely, positively cannot turn down Thanksgiving dessert. With that in mind, I made this cranberry sorbet as a light and refreshing option to cap off Thanksgiving dinner, in case guests find the traditional pies to be a bit too much after already loosening the good ol’ belt buckle.
The combination of fresh cranberries and orange juice give this sorbet a slightly tart and incredibly refreshing flavor. My tongue did a little jig when I tasted my first spoonful. It’s definitely a perfect light alternative for dessert; the cranberries feel right at home next to the pumpkin, apple and pecan pies!
A bright and refreshing cranberry sorbet is the perfect end to a heavy meal.
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
12 ounces fresh cranberries
Pinch of salt
½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier liquor (optional, this keeps the sorbet from getting icy)
1. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
2. Add the cranberries and salt, and bring to a low boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes (the cranberries should be completely soft at this point). Remove the pan from heat (leaving the lid on) and cool the cranberry mixture to room temperature.
3. Once cool, using a blender or food processor, puree together the cranberry mixture (including any juices), orange juice and Cointreau until completely smooth. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours (or overnight) to chill completely.
4. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.