I’ve always wanted to make an apricot sorbet. Fortunately, I was able to find some dried apricots at the local farmers market last week. When I was a kid we actually had apricot trees in our yard. Actually, a lot of people had apricot trees since Silicon Valley was once full of fruit orchards. I remember empty lots between houses that contained neat rows of apricot trees. Those lots are now long gone, replaced by homes, though Apple’s Steve Jobs tore down an adjacent house in Palo Alto to put an orchard back. My grandparents also had a couple apricot trees in their yard; they would pick them and dry them nearly every year. They have since moved but still give us dried apricots every year from a nearby fruit stand.
I couldn’t find too many recipes for apricot sorbet on the web, but fortunately one cookbook in my collection, Sorbets and Ice Creams, by Lou Pappas, had a recipe for dried apricot sorbet. I actually prefer dried apricot over fresh ones—the flavor is stronger and the varied texture of the dried apricots is more interesting to me. When buying apricots I always seek out the slab variety since they taste better. If you can score some Blenheim apricots, still grown in Silicon Valley, so much the better.
The sorbet that defies ice
When I first made this recipe I skipped adding water since it usually just makes for an icy sorbet, but the resulting sorbet was really strong—a little too strong, actually. The dried apricot flavor is surprisingly powerful, so don’t be afraid to add more water (and sugar if necessary) to make it appeal to less fanatic apricot fans. This sorbet is so smooth that you can really adjust the water level to suit your tastes without risk of iciness. A week in the freezer and this sorbet is still perfectly smooth. When serving, start with small portions since a little apricot flavor goes a long way.
Purée apricots with 3/4 cups of sugar, keeping hand over lid during mixing to prevent hot liquid from blowing lid off.
Once mixture has chilled to less than 45° F, pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to your maker’s instructions.
The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery can be found on the Dried Apricot Sorbet recipe page.