Fresh ripe tomato sorbet with shredded basil is the perfect summer appetizer. It’s mixed in a blender and churned without an ice cream maker.
When you have a glut of fresh, ripe tomatoes and you can’t decide whether to make sauce for the jars or soup for the freezer – make at least a small tray of tomato sorbet, the most delicious savoury ice cream possible.
A starter or a dessert?
So what are savoury sorbets for? What is even the point of them? Surely you can’t have them for dessert unless you’re the type of person who will always pick the cheese board from the dessert menu.
That’s one option, and I know plenty of people like that (weird, I know, but still). But it’s also a fabulous starter at a dinner party, even if the party number is two and the occasion is a weekly date night.
Or it could be a palate cleanser at a really posh do, if you’re into that sort of thing.
But mainly, it’s just a wonderful refreshing snack that has next to zero calories in it, and it’s great no matter what the weather.
Sorbets are also called ‘water ice’ and it’s a simple swap of cream or milk with water in the ingredients.
You can basically take any fruit or fruit juice, add sugar syrup to it and churn it into a sorbet. There’s quite a lot of sugar in sweet sorbets because it lowers the freezing point, thus stopping the dessert from becoming a solid ice block.
Adding simple syrup instead of just sugar crystals also works towards making the texture creamier, which is tricky sans cream, obviously.
Confusingly, sherbets are not the same as sorbets in that they do contain dairy. Check out my mascarpone sorbet which is really, technically, a sherbet (but Google doesn’t care for sherbets much, unless of the boiled fruit variety).
How to make tomato sorbet
Back to tomato sorbet which is much, much more interesting and healthier than fruit sorbets.
I make it with sugar syrup too, to get the right texture, but in a small quantity as compared to sweet sorbets.
Tomatoes macerate with the syrup and salt plus some flavour enhancers: garlic, black pepper and lime juice. It’s best if you can leave them to it overnight in the fridge, but an hour on the kitchen worktop will work wonders too.
The next step is pureeing the tomato base. I recommend blitzing it in a blender until smooth, then passing the pulp through a sieve (which is hard work) or a food mill (which isn’t but who has one of those?) to remove the seeds and bits of skin.
Taste the obtained smoothie (unless you decide to drink it as is and forget about sorbet. Please don’t). It needs to be really gutsy as freezing dulls the flavours, so it should be slightly too sweet, too salty and too acidic.
Add shredded basil leaves to the mix – and use up the rest of the basil bunch to make pesto.
How to freeze sorbet without ice cream maker
It’s the same method I use in the mascarpone sorbet recipe. I pour the base into a shallow dish, freeze it and then at half-hourly intervals I scrape and rough up the freezing sorbet, to stop ice crystals from forming.
If you’re patient and punctual, the result is not worse than churned in an ice cream maker.
Tomato sorbet won’t keep as long as ice cream in the freezer, so best use it up within a week or so. No hardship there though!
More sorbet recipes
Watermelon granita with no added sugar makes a fantastic dessert when served with a scoop of ice cream. Plus, instructions how to cube a watermelon included.
Avocado ice cream, dairy free and vegan, is a healthy and elegant summer dinner party starter. You don’t need a churning machine to make this avocado guacamole ice cream, creamy without dairy or coconut milk.
Mascarpone sorbet with lemon flavour inspired by a River Café recipe is smooth, creamy and unbelievably refreshing. This is a no-churn recipe.
More tomato recipes
Tomato nun, la religieuse de tomate, is an exquisite appetiser of cold, uncooked tomato stuffed with pesto-flavoured burrata cheese.
Tomato, fig and blue cheese salad, with fresh ripe figs and sliced mixed variety tomatoes. This tomato and fig salad with extra saltiness from blue cheese is an incredible taste sensation.
Tomato crostata with honey and thyme flavour on flaky pastry made from scratch, with a sneaky cheese addition. Crostata or galette is a sweet or savoury open, rustic pie.