When making sorbet, you can use fresh puree, fresh juice, or commercially prepared frozen puree. No matter which you use, you need simple syrup. When using fruit, it is often necessary to slightly vary the amount of simple syrup to balance the sweetness.
A refractometer is a piece of equipment used by wine makers to determine the amount of sugar in grapes. It is also used to measure the sugar content in sorbet. It works by measuring light as it is reflected off the sugar crystals contained in the sorbet mix.
Most ice cream machines work in the same way. The cold source comes from the outside of the container. The ice cream machine blade continually scrapes the sides of the container where the mix has frozen and mixes the frozen particles throughout. The continuous motion of the blade keeps the ice crystals small. If properly spun, sorbet and ice cream should not be icy. The motion of the blade also traps air in the mix as it thickens and gains volume.
The PACOJET?Y allows you to mix, freeze, and spin the exact number of portions needed. This is a versatile, although expensive, machine that makes great ice creams, sorbets, soups, mousses and purees.
Make the simple syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. All the sugar crystals should completely dissolve. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean medium-size bowl. Let cool completely before using. Simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator indefinitely if kept in an airtight container.
The technique for the orange or pineapple sorbet is exactly the same. Use a refractometer to balance the sugar in the fruit juice. It may not be necessary to add very much simple syrup to the fruit juice if using commercially prepared fruit juice. It is often very sweet. The fruit juice and simple syrup combination should balance to a measure of 24 to 26 degrees Brix on the refractometer.
Pour the fruit juice and syrup combination into the PACOJET?Y beaker and freeze until completely frozen. When frozen, remove from the freezer and place the beaker in the PACOJET?Y container. Insert and spin as many servings as you would like to make. The sorbet is ready to serve.
Recipe courtesy of Jacques Torres