This past week, Ethan and I were dutifully frying up latkes for friends and family. Now that Chanukah's over, we've got a load of starch-spackled laundry to do and some leftovers to get rid of. I often wind up with an extra jar or two of applesauce after a latke session. Sure, a late-night bowlful makes a nice (if not blandly healthy) palate cleanser after all that fried potato, but if you're looking for something a little less virtuous, you can turn that applesauce into a lusciously creamy, spiced-up sorbet in all of ten minutes.
Your ingredient list can be as simple as applesauce and sugar, but a quick trip through the spice rack and pantry is an effortless way to customize your sorbet and make this your own. In an effort to capture the feeling of a classic childhood dessert, I went with a balanced quartet of lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. If you're looking for some more exotic combinations, try one of these:
- A couple tablespoons of pomegranate molasses, 1/2 cup each of dried dates and walnuts
- Orange and lemon zest, plus a tablespoon of their juices and a sprinkle of fresh thyme
- A tablespoon of grated ginger, a teaspoon of ground cardamom, and honey swapped in for the sugar
- Maple syrup to replace half the sugar, a half teaspoon of nutmeg, and a shot of whisky
Or dispense with all this delicacy and plop some sour cream and caramel sauce into each bowl.
I prefer organic applesauce for this sorbet, as some conventional versions carry off metallic flavors, but use what you've got and stay comfortable in the knowledge that the sugar and cold you're adding will dial down unpleasant flavors. Texture-wise, you don't want anything too chunky, but with most commercial applesauce you won't have a problem. Check out this taste test for our favorite brands.
This recipe can easily be doubled or halved—just add 1/4 cup of sugar per cup of applesauce and you'll be in good shape. I found this sorbet best fresh out of the machine, when it's easily scoopable and intensely creamy. If storing it for later, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Ethan Frisch is the chef and co-mastermind behind Guerrilla Ice Cream. He's traveled around the world (30 countries, 5 continents) and worked as a pastry chef and line cook in some of NYC's great (and not so great) restaurants. He currently lives in London, where he really misses New York City tap water.
Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.
- 2 cups (1 1 pound, 9 ounce jar) cold applesauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Zest of one lemon
Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until sugar is completely dissolved. If applesauce is not cold, chill mixture for three to four hours in refrigerator.
Transfer mixture to ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. When only making 1 pint, sorbet will churn in about 10 minutes. Larger batches will take slightly longer.
ice cream machine