Cranberry and Vanilla Bean Sorbet

I had such high hopes for this do-ahead dessert recipe. The promise of a refreshingly light end to the Thanksgiving meal. The chance to complete a cranberry trifecta with sauce, bread, and sorbet. And not just any sorbet – one with vanilla bean. And, oh, the color!

But, alas, we just didn’t love it, unlike all the other reviewers who gave it “4 forks”. To be fair, we didn’t hate it either. But I made this two and a half weeks ago, and there’s still some left in our freezer. That just doesn’t happen in our house when it comes to ice creams and sorbets.


Still, it wasn’t a total loss as I used the remains of the vanilla bean to make more vanilla sugar. Simply rinse and dry the used bean. Stick in a canister of sugar for a least 4 days, and voila! – homemade vanilla sugar to substitute for granulated sugar in ice cream, pudding, coffee, cookies, cupcakes – anything that can benefit from an extra layer of vanilla. Guess that means I’ll file this one under “Things That Make You Go Hmmmm” instead of “Things that Make You Go Mmmmm”.

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Cranberry and Vanilla Bean Sorbet

from Bon Appetit, November 2009

makes 8 servings

  • 1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

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Combine cranberries, 2 1/2 cups water, sugar, and coarse salt in large heavy saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Add bean to mixture and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low; simmer until cranberries pop and are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Remove vanilla bean from cranberry mixture. Working in batches, puree cranberry mixture in blender. Strain into large bowl; discard solids. Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate cranberry mixture until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Transfer cranberry mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to container; cover and freeze.

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