The Dessert Formerly Known as Pumpkin Sorbet (Or, On Managing Expectations)

This all started when Harry requested cinnamon sorbet for his birthday. Impossible, I said! I refused to make a sorbet that was mostly water and cornstarch, with a teaspoon or two of spices, and many heaping cups of sugar—it would be destined for failure. Sorbet is for fresh fruit, not for bastardizing one’s favorite ice cream flavors. Some things need a little bit (or a lot) of dairy to taste right, and replacing milk with water will not always do the trick. Sorry, lactards. I can say that since I am one, right?

Long story short: we settled on pumpkin sorbet. This could work, I thought. It would be a wonderful way to enjoy the best flavors of Fall without packing on the pounds from a pumpkin cheesecake, latte, or beer (mmmm, pumpkin beer), and I wouldn’t have to clear my calendar for the rest of the day when I wanted some.

Alas, it would not work. I should have known. Which is not to say that this recipe is absolutely unsalvageable. On the contrary, I think with a few adjustments, in both ingredients and expectations, this recipe could work. I stress could, because I have not tried these adjustments. That is up to you, readers, and I’d love to hear how this turns out for you.

I found the original recipe on JDate (why on earth did I think a dating site would have good recipes), and I will provide it here. My suggestions for adjustments follow below. If you go with the original recipe, you will end up with a brick of un-scoopable, over-cinnamoned pumpkin ice. But as they say, when life gives you un-scoopable, over-cinnamoned  pumpkin ice, make shaved ice! This is the “managing expectations” solution to this problem. But, ever a perfectionist and being somewhat obsessive-compulsive, I believe I will have to go with the adjusting ingredients approach. Heck, I will probably just make pumpkin ice cream. And that is what we call being realistic. If you insist on going dairy-less though, just follow the suggested adjustments to the recipe below, lest the sheer quantity of cinnamon in the original recipe leave your mouth dried out and you gagging for air. Seriously, have the people at JDate never heard of the Cinnamon Challenge?

Pumpkin Not So Sorbet

Adapted from JDate

2 ¼ cups water (bottled water makes a tastier sorbet)

½ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling, this has pre-added spices and is unwieldy)

3 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ginger powder

1 vanilla bean, scraped

Put the water and sugars in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the pumpkin puree, spices, and vanilla, mixing to combine.

Once this is done, cool the mixture completely (at least overnight). Then add to your ice cream machine and follow its instructions.

Keep the sorbet in the freezer.

Now for my suggestions. Forget the bottled water and the vanilla bean–total waste of money and they added nothing to the recipe. Use regular water and a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract. Most importantly, cut the cinnamon. By a lot. I predict one teaspoon would be more than sufficient and would let you actually taste the other spices in the recipe, and would prevent you from experiencing the odd sensation of eating a water-based dessert so saturated with anhydrous cinnamon that you become more parched as you eat. Finally, you may have to put the mixture back on the stove on low heat after adding the pumpkin puree–I had a hard time getting it to mix otherwise. I’d also recommend using a whisk for this step. Be careful not to cook the mixture, though! Hopefully, with these adjustments, you can enjoy some tasty pumpkin sorbet/ice. If it’s not quite what you expected, adjust your expectations. Maybe we can make pumpkin ice the next big thing.

Coming up next: Bacon-Lattice Apple Pie. And if you want to taste some of my pie and other delicious apple pies, come join me at Enid’s this Sunday for their 10th Annual Apple Pie Contest.

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6 thoughts on “The Dessert Formerly Known as Pumpkin Sorbet (Or, On Managing Expectations)

  1. Maybe try infusing the initial simple syrup with whole cinnamon sticks (and other whole spices including vanilla) – might give it less of a harsh ground cinnamon kick and let all the flavors come out more

  2. Pingback: Vanilla Syrup: Good for Gift-Giving, Better for Your Coffee | The Quarter Life Kitchen

  3. Pingback: Pumpkin PIE Ice Cream | The Quarter Life Kitchen

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