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Rainbow sherbet

What is sherbet?

Photo © John E. Kelly / Getty Images

Sherbet (pronounced "SHUR-but") is a sweetened frozen dessert made with fruit and some sort of dairy product such as milk or cream. Egg whites are also sometimes used in making sherbet.

Sherbet can be made with fruit juice or puréed fruit or both. The amount of dairy product in sherbet is low compared with other frozen desserts. Whereas ice cream will contain at least 10 percent butterfat (often as high as 20 percent), and gelato between four and eight percent, sherbet contains only 1 to 2 percent butterfat.

Common sherbet flavors include orange, raspberry, lemon and lime. There's also a thing called rainbow sherbet (pictured here), which is made by combining layers of raspberry, lime and orange sherbet.

Note: The word "sherbet" is often mispronounced and/or misspelled as "sherbert."

If you were making orange sherbet, you'd use orange juice, combining the juice, sugar and milk in an ice-cream maker and processing until done. Orange zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract would also be nice.

In other cases, you'd use a fruit purée rather than juice. To make raspberry sherbet, puree frozen raspberries, then strain to remove the seeds. Then combine the purée, milk, sugar and lemon juice and process in your ice cream maker.

You could use whole milk or 2% milk. For a creamier sherbet, you could add a splash of cream.

Also see: Sorbet

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