cranberry + grapefruit sorbet.

cranberry + grapefruit sorbet.

Let’s be frank: you don’t have time to read food posts right now. I don’t have time to write food posts right now. We are kidding ourselves if we think we should be doing anything but donning our finest grocery-shopping attire and getting out there to procure the necessary ingredients for our Thanksgiving feasts. Canadians; this is the week we remember how you feel during early to mid-October. Now we sympathize. We are one again, my Northern neighbors.


Perhaps some of you are in the throes of it already. I detail-cleaned the kitchen this weekend and it is ready for action. It’s safe to say the kitchen won’t look like this again until at least Saturday due to the massive amount of cooking which will be going on. I have half my groceries and I’ll be filling in with the rest this afternoon, but somewhere in the midst of all this, I was able to make perhaps the finest new addition to our celebration this year.

cranberry + grapefruit sorbet.

This sorbet. If you have ice cream makers, get them out and pop those babies in the freezer, because you’ll want this. You can throw it in champagne, use it as a wee palate cleanser, or just eat it solo; do what you want with it, but this may be the sole reason I stock up on fresh cranberries this year. I honestly can’t imagine any season without it. It’s bright and bold and so, so magenta, and you’ll want it all the time; it is as brilliant in flavor as it is in color.

cranberry + grapefruit sorbet.

And it takes basically nothing: a bag of fresh cranberries, a big fat grapefruit, some sugar, water, and a tiny bit of corn syrup. Done. It’s surprisingly velvety and doesn’t get icy as some tend to do, and the flavor is just outstanding. I could go on about it at length, but the season calls, and I have some shopping to do.

cranberry + grapefruit sorbet.

Β Trust me on this one. Emma, this one’s for you.

Cranberry + Grapefruit Sorbet

Makes around 1 quart

  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 large red grapefruits (you’ll want around 1 cup of juice)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Note: I can almost feel Emma telling me telepathically that she’s going to make this sans ice cream maker, and that is fine. I’m sure she can do it. She is an exceedingly well-rounded girl who forages for things and would survive an earth disaster or nuclear winter way better than I would. I don’t know how to make this without my modern, DIFM (Do It For Me) machinery.

Make the sorbet:

Use a vegetable peeler to peel 3-4 large strips of zest from the grapefruit. Cut both in half and squeeze the juice through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl to catch the seeds.

Combine the zest and juice of the grapefruit, the cranberries, water, corn syrup, and sugar into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil just until the cranberries begin to pop open, about 5-7 minutes or so. Remove from the heat to let cool.

Once cooled to room temperature, remove the zest and puree using either an immersion blender or in batches using a blender or food processor. At this point i have to recommend, as usual, that you look into getting an immersion blender if you don’t have one; it’s a sound investment. Way less messy than the back and forth of batch-blending.

Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and cover; place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours to chill down completely.

Note: I like an overnight chill: call me superstitious, but i think it makes for a better end result. If you must work quickly, you can fill a large bowl with ice and water and float the smaller bowl containing the sorbet mixture inside it. Place it in the fridge and stir occasionally to work it around, I’d say for at least 30-45 minutes.

When your base has completely chilled, ready your ice cream maker of choice and spin according to manufacturer’s instructions. Chill for at least 6 hours to set post-spin.

Et voilΓ : your favorite winter sorbet. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the freezer.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply John@Kitchen Riffs November 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Thanksgiving (and Christmas – we do essentially the same menu for both) are my favorite meals of the year! It takes some time but it’s pretty easy, although I’m lucky in that there are two of us splitting up the workload). Anyway, lovely sorbet! I don’t often make sorbets at this time of the year, but they’re always such a treat. And this looks so gorgeous! Really good stuff – thanks.

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks, John! and have a lovely holiday: i have my mom here over both of those holidays (which, like yours, have roughly the same menu selections), and i’m happy to have the help. She and i both think it’s almost all getting things all put together: not hard, but definitely time-consuming, for sure.
      I don’t often make sorbets at this point in the year, either; i couldn’t resist this one, since it’s such an un-summery flavor combo. I don’t regret it one bit. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) November 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks amazingly tart, tangy, and delicious! I might have been hesitant to pair cranberries and grapefruit since they are both so strongly sour & bitter (that’s not to say I don’t LOVE them both individually…) but you’ve convinced me that it’s not only safe to attempt but also really, really worth it!

    My ice cream maker bowl is already (/still) in the freezer; I just need to buy some corn syrup and I will be good to go. Lovely recipe!

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Thank you, Allison! You know, i was a little hesitant as well with this: I almost chickened out and tried subbing in orange for the grapefruit, same reason: i thought it would be intense together. I was pleasantly surprised: something about the cooking of the entire thing together (plus a nice dose of sugar, probably) really smoothes out the tartness, but leaves the bright notes intact. It’s lovely, and not at all pucker-inducing, i swear. πŸ™‚

      i think this time of year i keep corn syrup (along with all the other baking “essentials” fully stocked, just in case. because we all need to be able to make stuff like this at a moment’s notice. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Deb November 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    LOL, I’m on the way out the door to finish my holiday shopping! And fresh cranberries are on the list!
    The thought of a plate cleansing sorbet is a compelling reason to add this inspired recipe to this weeks agenda!

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      YAY! seriously, i’m all about the cranberries this weekend, Deb. We ran out to the store this evening to get the (second) jump on the holiday meal shopping, and i bought three more bags of cranberries. I only have designs for two of them, but who cares: no such thing as too many of them. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sarah @ The Cook's Life November 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I must make the sorbet. The color is compelling me! I can see it staining my counters, the dasher on my ice cream maker and all my white kitchen towels and dishrags. But I want it. We do eat with our eyes, don’t we? And my mouth almost puckers up right now, just thinking about tart, sweet and acid. This is so going to happen!

    Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the time with your family, both in the kitchen and out!

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      It’s so dramatic, isn’t it! RED ALL OVER. You do have to watch the staining: definitely apron it up if you’re making this, because there will be splatter. So far, no disasters, but I don’t use the fancy white kitchen towels when i’m doing things like this; i know better. πŸ™‚ I hope you love this as much as i did/do! We’re all really excited to have this as an extra this thanksgiving, for sure.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family as well! I’m sad our several-times rescheduled plans got postponed for various reasons: definitely let’s get something in there between now and the end of the year (yikes! so soon!). πŸ™‚

  • Reply Ashley November 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    So lovely and delicious! It makes me think of the Ciao Bella cookbook. They have a lovely grapefruit + Campari sorbet that’s a bit too bitter for my tastes (but another great palate-cleansing combo). I’d love your cranberry + grapefruit much, much more.

    And I love the detail-cleaned kitchen! Isn’t it strange how you want to clean like crazy both before AND after company comes over? It never fails to boggle my mind, but I do both cleanings anyway.

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      You just reminded me of a cookbook i’ve been meaning to add to my list. I can see how grapefruit + campari would be really strong: SO BITTER and bite-y together! Even when frozen, i imagine. Cranberries certainly have a tartness, but i think there’s an underlying sweetness there – especially when cooked down with sugar – that keeps this from crossing the line.

      I agree: so weird that cleaning PRIOR to the act of kitchen destruction just feels like the right thing to do, right? But we always do it here, too. We also clean like mad right before leaving on vacation, because we like coming home to a clean house. πŸ™‚ I think the cleaning prior to cooking thing is therapeutic in some way: if i’m starting a big blog project or food assignment, i always clean, too. it’s like starting with a clean notebook to write something. Refreshing, somehow.

  • Reply Brianne November 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I gotta go buy more cranberries. But I’m seriously making two pies for the two of us at Thanksgiving, so maybe I should wait to make this for a bit. But I’m going to make it because…dang. It sounds so good! And I like all the bright things. Also, I like your ode to Emma. But I’m totally making this in my ice cream machine.

    If I tried to clean my kitchen before beginning to cook, someone would get hurt. I’ll have to just jump in and do it, and worry about the mess later! It’s probably for the best that we aren’t having guests for Thanksgiving…

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Whenever i picture you buying cranberries, i just assume you have to walk out your door and there’s a farm stand or something bearing tons of them. I have a fantasy-world view of maine. πŸ™‚
      Although i will say this isn’t difficult, i DO know that it’s not always good to add even simple things to an already packed cooking agenda, and it sounds like you’re at max capacity. We do that too: we’re all “oh that sounds easy, LET’S MAKE THAT TOO!” and before you know it, we’ve got 83 sides needing to be prepped. no good. πŸ™‚

      You know she’s going to do it completely by hand, and i love that. i will always use a machine. Because i’m like that, at least with this. I feel like i pick and choose what i do manually, you know?

      ha! you know, everyone just has their own system with the circle of life that is cooking and cleaning. I feel like it’s whatever works for you. you can’t go against your flow. Happy cooking this week, Brianne. I wish you the absolute best. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Emma November 25, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Hey, so I had this craaaazy idea. I was thinking that maybe, I’ll try and make this without an ice cream maker! Yeah, that could really work!

    πŸ™‚ if I had one, I’d totally pull it out for T Day, I promise.

    Can’t wait to give this a whirl, Shannon! Enjoy your feast!

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      I KNEW IT! and i know you would: i admire your manual ice cream/sorbet skills, emma. you’re like my diy inspiration most days. You get extra points for doing the work on this.

      You enjoy as well, and have fun with the family!

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog November 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

    You’re right. I have no time to do anything but think about my Turkey Day menu and how far behind I let myself get. I don’t even have a post scheduled for this week. I’m trying hard to feel bad about it, but I just don’t have the time to fit that in.

    This looks so good. Now I can’t stop thinking about floating this in some champagne. I won’t stop until some of this creamy sorbet is floating in a delicate glass of bubbly. Your kitchen is purdy. Mine isn’t even clean. There are dirty dishes in the sink from last night. Have a very happy Thanksgiving.

    • Reply shannon November 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Now Jennie, i KNOW you’re hanging out in the kitchen today just like i am, and i bet you have it all under control. we all manage somehow to get our acts together in time for the main event, although i’m not sure in my case how. πŸ™‚

      it’s SO good! not kidding, i’m sending the husband out for champagne just because i keep thinking about it. And thank you for the kitchen complements: i don’t appreciate it as much as i should, because as much as i want the kitchens i see in every episode of This Old House, this one does the job and has held up even with all my regular abuse. If i took a photo of it right now? it’s NOT that clean. it’s “busy.” πŸ™‚

      have a lovely thanksgiving, Jennie!

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats November 26, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Is it weird that I got REALLY excited that you showed a picture of your kitchen? I love seeing inside people’s houses (not in the drive-around-in-the-dark-and-look-for-houses-with-their-lights-on-and-curtains-opened kind of way though). But whatever, you already know I’m a stalker so it’s probably no surprise to you. Aaaanyway, this sorbet is such a gorgeous color! What a perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner- you could totally make it one of those palate cleansers between courses like they do in fancy restaurants!

    • Reply shannon November 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      not at all weird, my little stalker twin: why do you think i love it that I get to see endless photos of YOUR house? I love looking at the insides of peoples’ houses also: it’s why my free time is sometimes spent flipping through house pics on not kidding. We would be THE BEST OF FRIENDS if you lived here because of our very similar ways of having fun. πŸ™‚

      Thanks! You know, Emma had the idea to use it as a palate cleanser, which is perfect, because it works wonderfully in that way. really crisp and not at all heavy, and yes, the color. all that color.

      • Reply Faygie November 30, 2013 at 10:22 pm

        And I thought I was the only weirdo who spends time looking at houses on in her free time (and not-so-free time; I’m a great procrastinator).

        • Reply shannon December 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

          nope: is basically like a video game to me. πŸ™‚ i’ll look everywhere, too; just anywhere i could think to live, boom: search for homes. πŸ™‚
          we are both excellent procrastinators, i think.

        • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats December 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

          I totally look at houses on NJ’s MLS website…I partially do it because I love looking at other people’s houses and partially because I want to make sure we bought the right house. So far so good- i haven’t found anything better πŸ™‚ Obviously we were triplets separated at birth πŸ˜‰

          • shannon December 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm

            (laughing) omg we SO are.

          • Faygie December 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

            I PREFER to look in other cities/areas, because looking in my zip code is so depressing. It’s SO expensive, and there really aren’t that many homes for sale. We’ve looked into moving to another state, but right now Chaim has a great job, so it’s not worth it.

  • Reply Monica November 26, 2013 at 11:14 am

    The color is totally breathtaking, Shannon. I think a sorbet like this is just the ticket to cut through all the richness of the feast to come. Excellent idea. And I love the idea of popping a little scoop in some champagne. My sister, for one, would love that! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Reply shannon November 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      don’t you love it when food has a striking color? this sorbet was a gimme in terms of photos, because what possibly could i have to add to that already-beautiful look. nothing, that’s what. and it’s as pretty flavor-wise as it is color-wise. I may buy champagne just to see if i’m right about how good that would be.

      A lovely happy thanksgiving to you as well! have a great time. We’re mid-menu here and it smells incredible, so i’m about to get back to that. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook November 27, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Detail cleaned the kitchen? Shannon, you are like my new bestie! I need you, girl! This looks like an incredible sorbet-so perfect in many ways. Have a great Thanksgiving, Shannon!

    • Reply shannon December 5, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Abbe, i will come to your house and detail clean ALL THE THINGS! i love doing stuff like that; i find it relaxing to do, and even more relaxing once i am finished. happy thanksgiving to you too! i know you had a great one. πŸ™‚

  • Reply movita beaucoup November 29, 2013 at 6:56 am

    We have three bags of cranberries in our freezer., harvested by a family friend. Twelve ounces will be churned in our ice cream maker thanks to you. I cannot wait…

    • Reply shannon December 5, 2013 at 10:16 am

      of COURSE you have personally-harvested cranberries. OF COURSE YOU DO.

  • Reply Willow @ Will Cook For Friends December 2, 2013 at 8:34 am

    This sounds like just about the best sorbet in the entire world… during the summer, fresh fruit sorbets became one of my favorite things to make (so easy!), but I wouldn’t have though to do it in the cooler months. This flavor combination sounds so incredible, though… and in champagne?! Yum!

    • Reply shannon December 5, 2013 at 10:13 am

      willow, i confess: i’m not *always* a sorbet person, but i could eat this forever. it’s crisp and fresh and we all loved it here. i’ll be making more for new years’ eve this year.

  • Reply Katherine {eggton} December 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    “I like for an overnight chill” is a great sentence. In fact, “The Overnight Chill” might be a good band name or book name or album, no? Happy Thanksgiving to all over there!

    • Reply shannon December 5, 2013 at 10:11 am

      ABSOLUTELY, it would. happy thanksgiving to all of you as well! Hope it was a good one.

    Leave a Reply