Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Honey Sorbet

Mark Bittman loves to show how ingredients can be combined in infinite variations. So, instead of giving you discrete recipes for five different sorbets in How to Cook Everything Vegeterian, he provides a bare-bones chart with roughly 30 different sorbets formulas. 

The formula that caught my eye was the honey sorbet, which calls for melting a cup of honey in 2 cups hot water. That's it. Then you freeze it in your ice cream maker. 

I admit that my motivations were impure when I decided to make honey sorbet. I thought: This can not possibly work. And when it doesn't, I can analyze what such a clearly offhand, bad recipe, casually thrown into a chart, says about the work of Mark Bittman. 

Instead, I'm writing about one of the weirdest, most thrilling desserts ever alchemized in my kitchen.

At room temperature, honey is somewhat translucent; water is completely translucent. You mix them together and you have a see-through amber syrup that you envision freezing into an amber slush, probably not very delicious.
Not so. Churned and frozen, honey and water transform into a rich, opaque cream. See above. Doesn't that look like ice cream? No! Sorbet.

You have to really like honey and you won't want to eat a lot of this at one sitting, but it was altogether exquisite. A dazzling little jewel of a recipe that Bittman just inserted into a chart.
He's definitely casual, but not in a way I can criticize.


  1. I think a very small dose would do for me Tipsy It's hard to imagine eating more than a small spoonful of this honey sorbet. Did others find it cloying?

    1. I did find it cloying, so I threw in some rum and black pepper. That helped a bit.

  2. granted i come from a family of honey worshipers, but this sounds and looks so great to me. And it's weird that it turns white, really weird. but then, honey candy turns a surprising color when stretched, perhaps it's related. Perhaps the loyal readers of tipsybaker would like the family recipe for honey candy!

  3. it actually tasted creamy. MMMM. Honey candy. I have not thought of that wonderful stuff in some time.
    You know what else I was thinking about this morning? Postum.

  4. Bit-o-Honey! Delicious. The sorbet looks great. I've been meaning to get an ice-cream maker since I got married, and still haven't. Maybe now is the time. On a related note, Umpqua Ice Cream, a Southern Oregon company, has a new ice cream called Oregon 150 (celebrating Oregon's recent sesquicentenary), which is honey ice cream with ribbons of huckleberry puree and finely ground hazelnuts. Yummy. It makes me proud to be an Oregonian.

  5. Melvil, you must buy an ice cream maker now! It's the single most magical appliance i own, and i own a few. The cuisinart is great, the kitchen aid mixer is great, the immersion blender is great, but the ice cream maker is magic, and great dessert can come out of just about any milk product in your freezer, and now we learn, water and honey too. and the fancy expensive ones are cool and i wish i had one, but the $49 cuisinart one is what i have and it's just fine.

  6. Thinking a touch of lemon might make it a nice palate cleanser after some rich meat course. Or how about apple cider vinegar, along the lines of Vermont Folk Medicine, as a cure for colds coming on---for those who believe in the magical properties of honey!

    I love the whole concept.

  7. Have you ever tried truffled honey? I have a jar of hazlenuts in truffled honey which is really addictive!

  8. I here am casual, but was specially registered at a forum to participate in discussion of this question.

  9. Thank you it is a great help, now to cook everything vegetarian is without a doubt very easy by using your tips. Thank you

  10. This is churning in my ice cream maker right now (maybe because I;m experimenting so used only 1 cup water and half a cup of honey) & I must add I melted honey in a cup of tea instead of plain water and that it's taking double the regular amount of time to freeze. Otherwise, it's nice but the flavor of honey is overpowering for me. Too sweet - but my daughter likes it.I'm going to wait to transfer it to the freezer & try it later to form a definite opinion. But thanks for sharing this - I really love sorbets but not the amount of sugar that goes inside them :(

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  19. The honey sorbet is white(ish) for the same reason snow is white while water is clear. Each crystal of ice is clear, but collectively in the millions, they reflect and refract light to appear opaque. Same thing happens when you break glass into small enough bits. Clear glass, white pile of glass shards.

  20. I'm wondering what this would be like with ginger, lavender and maybe even fresh mint as a palate cleanser?

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