Introduction: Green Apple Sorbet

There are two things I'm glad we have in our kitchen -- an ice cream maker and my wife's whoop tee do supercharged Vitamix blender. Together they can turn a whole bunch of stuff into some really delicious cold treats for surviving the upcoming summer. In the past, I'd go through gallons of ice cream and spend lots of dollars for shaved ice cups. After a marathon "Good Eats"-watching session, I decided to try Alton Brown's sorbet methodology to cut calories, avoid commercial food preservatives, and save money.

Step 1: The Recipe, Not a Lot of Pictures.

I've been experimenting making green apple sorbet, a personal favorite of mine. The apples are fairly cheap at the supermarket right now and the ingredient list is pretty minimal, with a couple of exceptions. I use powdered malic acid to give the sorbet the tartness you expect from a green apple (got mine from ) because the first couple of batches were more applesaucy than green-appley. I also found I needed an ultrafine nylon mesh bag (

) to squeeze out the liquid from the mixture after it's blended, because apple fiber by itself is NOT tasty, but boy, will you be regular.

The recipe:

4 large or 5 small Granny Smith apples

Juice of half a lemon

75 g to 100 g powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you like it

1 teaspoon malic acid

3/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup water

4 tablespoons cheap vodka

Vodka, you say? Yes, I say back. Vodka is tasteless but is a VERY effective anti-freeze and keeps the mixture scoopable once it's been frozen, else you wind up with a very large block of apple ice because of the high water content. It's completely diluted in the finished product. Cheap white wine also works, but might do something to the flavor. You could also make popsicles from the end liquid if you have the molds -- just leave the vodka out of the recipe.

If you have the same kind of ice cream maker I do, you need to make sure that you put its bowl in the freezer a day ahead of time; it'll take that long for it to cool down to make sorbet. Core the apples (don't bother to peel them) and cut them up into slices, then toss them in a plastic bag with the lemon juice and shake them up to keep them from browning. Put the apple slices in the blender, along with the sugar, malic acid, apple juice, water, and vodka. Blend at high-speed for about 2 min. The wife's Vitamix blender can pretty much disassemble molecules, but if your blender is not powerful enough to liquefy the apple slices, then freeze the apples the day before and let them defrost for about 45 minutes to an hour when ready to make the sorbet. The slow freezing process will allow large ice crystals to grow in the cells that will break them apart to release all the apple-ly goodness. Just core, slice, and blend them as before. While the apples are getting blended, put the mesh bag in a large bowl and put on a pair of clean gloves. Pour the blended apple slush into the bag while it's sitting in the bowl, then twist the bag with all your strength to squeeze out every last drop of liquid. Cover the bowl of liquid with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. It needs to cool to about 40° F to be turned into sorbet quickly by the ice cream maker.

Step 2: Voila! Le Sorbet!

When the mix is nice and cold, assemble the ice cream maker and turn it on. It has to be running before you start pouring anything in. Pour in all the apple mixture and let it churn. It'll get all slushy in about 25 minutes, then put the sorbet in a plastic tub and stick it in the freezer to harden up for a couple of hours. This recipe will fill a 64 oz. plastic tub about 3/4 full. The freezer bowl will still be cold enough to make another batch right away if you've planned ahead and prepped a second batch of sorbet mix (I do; the first batch never lasts long). To clean the mesh bag, turn it inside out over the garbage can and scrape off as much of the remaining apple fiber as you can, then work a little dishwashing detergent into the bag for a minute under running hot water, rinse, and put aside to dry.

For grown-ups, the green apple sorbet is even better with a couple of tablespoons of applejack or Calvados on top.

Hope you like it!