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Big flavor without additional calories of milk or cream: Refreshing Sorbets are Quick Summer Desserts (2 recipes)

Diane Rossen Worthington

By Diane Rossen Worthington

Published July 20, 2016

Big flavor without additional calories of milk or cream: Refreshing Sorbets are Quick Summer Desserts (2 recipes)
Sorbets are a light and satisfying finish to any summertime meal. They are valued for their creamy texture and big flavor without the additional calories of milk or cream.

Sorbets are simply a fruit juice or fruit puree and sugar syrup that is frozen in an ice cream maker. There are many ice cream and sorbet makers on the market for home use, and one of the best is the inexpensive model made by Cuisinart.

Ciao Bella makes some of the best ready-made ice creams and sorbets you can buy. That's a great save when you are rushed for time.

But if you have just a few extra minutes, it is well worth it to make your own sorbet. Here are two sure-fire hits, each of which offers a unique flavor and texture.

The watermelon sorbet uses a simple syrup, and the banana sorbet uses an agave syrup that you can find at your market. Bottled simple syrups are now available, but it takes just a few minutes to make. The simple syrup recipe below can be refrigerated for months. It's also a great sweetener for iced tea or mixed drinks.


Watermelon contains less sugar by weight than you might think: only 6 percent. It tastes much sweeter because the sugar is its primary flavor-producing element; the rest is mostly water, which is why it's a cool summer favorite. Use seedless watermelon when you can find it, or remove the seeds before blending. Experiment with yellow or orange watermelon when available.

  • 6 cups chopped seedless watermelon (from a

  • 2-pound piece of watermelon)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 recipe Simple Syrup (see below)

In a blender, combine the watermelon, lemon juice and simple syrup, and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.


For an extra-refreshing variation, add 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint just before churning.


Make sure that the syrup is well-chilled before using.

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

1. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate in sealed jar.

Advance Preparation: May be kept up to 2 months in refrigerator.


This is a creamy textured-sorbet that tastes almost like ice cream. You can also add some almonds or pecans to the mixture just before churning.

Serves 4

  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup agave syrup or simple syrup, or to taste

  • Mint leaves, for garnish

  • Toasted chopped almonds or pecans, for garnish

1. Puree bananas with lemon juice and syrup in food processor or in blender, or mash by hand. Pour into chilled electric ice cream machine and churn, following instructions, until mixture is semisolid, 15 to 20 minutes (see note). Serve immediately.

Note: If you do not have an electric ice cream machine, place mixture in bowl in the freezer. Every 30 minutes whip it vigorously to soften it and keep it from becoming too icy.

It should take 2 to 3 hours for the ingredients to freeze.

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Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Holidays," and also a James Beard award-winning radio show host.