by Zoë Françios
from Fine Cooking #129, p. 64
The trick to making great sorbet is getting the sugar concentration right. Too little sugar and you end up with an icy Popsicle; too much and it's a sweet, slushy mess.
There's a simple, low-tech way to gauge the sugar content for a sorbet: Float an egg in it. Crazy as it sounds, this trick will help you make perfect sorbets from just about any fresh fruit. First, puree or juice your fruit, then add some water (this helps when the fruit is too intense on its own, like lemon or lime, or particularly thick, like banana), a little fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. (That's the basic formula, but you can also play a bit by adding a fresh herb and/or spirit or liqueur. They'll add extra flavor, and because alcohol doesn't freeze, it will also improve the texture of your sorbet.)
Next, add a whole egg in its shell to test the sugar content. As the sorbet base becomes saturated (or dense) with sugar, the egg buoys to the surface. When you can see a quarter-size circle of eggshell, the sorbet has enough sugar to make it a soft, smooth success.
Photos by Scott Phillips