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Mixed Berries Sorbet with Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Berry Sorbet

When I called my mother yesterday I had a burning question to ask her. As soon as we started talking, I completely forgot. I was outside on the deck and heard a plane over my head. Felt a cool breeze through the pecan tree and just sat there. It took me back to our chalet in the Alps on a hot summer day. Gliders brushing the mountain sides, kids biking furiously to the pool. I got pensive. Mostly I had a smile on my face.

I got quiet for a little while and she asked if I was getting sad as we talked about summers, the cousins growing up, their travel plans, etc… I mumbled "I’m fine! I am testing the mixed berries sorbet I just made!" She asked if I could focus on the conversation to which I replied "no can’t do. Do you still have your T-Fal sorbet maker?" I had remembered my, well at least to me, burning question.


Her turn to get quiet for a while "I have no idea. Why do you ask?". I knew I had piqued her curiosity. "No reason. Everytime I make sorbet I think about that darn sorbetiere and how much we’d crank it up in the summers. It was cool. It was special." It was special indeed. I’ll always remember the day my mother brought that sorbet make home. Homemade sorbet anytime we wanted? As kids it was like Christmas in July!

See, in France, desserts eaten at home during the week are not buttery flaky pastries bought at the corner bakery on the way home from work. Those are for Sundays. No, desserts often consist of a dairy product and a fruit. I grew up on homemade yogurt and fruit for dessert. Ice creams and sorbets were not only specials, they were a once a year kind of thing. They spelled Summer.

Berry Sorbet

It was a special thing indeed to have sorbet or ice cream or pastries back home. I do the exact same thing here. The weekends and dinner with friends are meant for special treats. And for good reasons. Time on slower motion is something to be celebrated (I’m always on even when I’m off. Can’t help it). Time spent with friends is celebrated. The generosity of their sharing our table, their time and stories with us. I want to acknowledge that by making them something special.

Enter sorbets, ice cream, tarts, mousses, and all sorts of goodies I enjoy making. I enjoy seeing their shoulders drop and their pupils scintillate as they dig in the first bites. I enjoy that pause as the flavors wraps around their taste buds, the scents and aromas arousing their senses. I am at my happiest when I gather people I love and respect around food. I know that’d make my grandmother smile.


There were so many luscious berry baskets at the farmers market this past week that I got a lot of everything. Blueberries, blackberries (twice), strawberries (again), raspberries (always). Stone fruits and rhubarb also ended up in our basket but that’s for another get together later this week. It’s summer! The house is open to anyone with a good story and a smile.

This sorbet is my go-to recipe as I can change the fruit according to the season and always get the same delicious result. Tart and sweet flavors. You can really taste them all separately and together with every bite. Paired with a simple vanilla shortbread cookies and you have one of our favorite summer treats.

Berry Sorbet

Now…I need to fly home and find that sorbetiere my mom bough when we were kids…!

Berry Sorbet

Mixed Berries Sorbet, adapted from Richard Leach in Sweet Seasons:

Makes 4 cups

3 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries of your choice
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
zest and juice of one lemon

In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, place the berries and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Puree until smooth in a blender or food processor and then strain through a fine mesh chinois (strainer). Process in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Vanilla Shortbread Cookies:

Makes about twenty 2-inch round cookies.

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
2 egg yolks
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup milk (optional)

In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and egg yolks together on medium speed until creamy looking. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix for 10 seconds. Add the millet and sweet rice flour with the mixer still on low speed. If the mixture feels too crumbly add a little bit of milk to obtain a smooth but not too wet dough. Start with one tablespoon at a time.
Gather the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
When ready to bake, turn the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle.
Roll the dough in between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to about 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Cut cookies out in the dough and place them on a parchment lined baing sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Serve with the sorbet.

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Maris (In Good Taste) June 7, 2011 um 3:35 pm

This looks like the absolute perfect summer refreshment!

Kelly Sauer June 7, 2011 um 3:37 pm

You do the prettiest things with your food! You share feast in more ways than one!

Unknown June 7, 2011 um 3:43 pm

OMG! Today it's perfect!

la domestique June 7, 2011 um 4:05 pm

Just this morning I woke up thinking berries are my most favorite fruit! Today I am making a berry crisp but tomorrow maybe it will be this sorbet. Your photos captured the essence of summer and I wish I could jump in and enjoy it!

Heidi @ Food Doodles June 7, 2011 um 4:38 pm

Mmm, that sorbet sounds amazing. I have berries in the freezer, I might just try it with those. And I love that your shortbread doesn't have any weird ingredients. I wonder if I can make millet flour in my blender so I can try them, they look so good πŸ™‚

Alina—Explora Cuisine June 7, 2011 um 4:43 pm

Your sorbet has an incredible color, I love it! there's nothing more precious than our memories when we were just kids…

Kate@whatkatebaked June 7, 2011 um 5:41 pm

What a delicious, refreshing summer treat! I'm sure your friend's eyes must have boggled with pleasure!

Kate@whatkatebaked June 7, 2011 um 5:42 pm

What a delicious, refreshing summer treat! I'm sure your friend's must have been delighted!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 7, 2011 um 7:43 pm

Helene the recipe is just awesome! How perfect for a summer day!

And I just did a cookbook review post about Matt's new book and I said the book I want to own most next is your book in my post πŸ™‚

I also saw a food photography website review it over the weekend and they gave it glowing reviews.

You are amazing and should be so proud of yourself! πŸ™‚

sasha June 7, 2011 um 8:08 pm

ah. helen…
as always, stunning stunning images!
and the berries look absolutely delicious.
summer brings back a lot of memories for me as well.
in japan, we have snack time. everyday at 3 'clock we eat snacks. during this season after school we would had shaved ice daily.

i'm getting nostalgic.
i love that about you, helen! you bring back so many memories i had from my home away from home.

elizabeyta June 7, 2011 um 8:28 pm

This is one of my favorite combinations, especially in summer. I always make my sorbet from scratch and I am known for my shortbred. I have not tried them gluten free yet but that is on the list.

Heidi / foodiecrush June 7, 2011 um 8:44 pm

I have fresh strawberries and blueberries sitting in the fridge. They must have been waiting for this recipe. Perfect to make with my mini-chef. Beauts photos!

terri June 7, 2011 um 9:10 pm

the sorbet looks amazing–but you must have incredible self-control. berries around here get eaten too quickly to be turned into sorbet πŸ™‚

Molly June 7, 2011 um 9:32 pm

I'm anxiously awaiting the first strawberries of the season in this week's CSA box. I've been dreaming of things to do with them. I'm putting this recipe at the top of the list.

Marnely Rodriguez-Murray June 7, 2011 um 11:15 pm

Gorgeous. I love love the berries, but love your spoons even more!

Aggie June 7, 2011 um 11:25 pm

So so pretty. I am loving berries right now. I love your little white ice cream cups πŸ™‚

Lana @ Never Enough Thyme June 7, 2011 um 11:33 pm

Homemade sorbet…what a treat! And so appropriate for the weather we've been having here in Georgia lately. Hot, humid days that make you wilt as soon as you open the door and step out. Yes, a cold berry sorbet would be perfect just about now.

Unknown June 8, 2011 um 1:21 am

Oh man, that would taste so good right now with all the hot weather we're having. Love the addition of lemon, too, it always complements berries so well! Looks beautiful and delicious πŸ™‚

JY Lee June 8, 2011 um 5:26 am

Hi, visiting from South Korea. I've recently discovered your blog and i'm in love with it. The way you celebrate and appreciate your life and people around you just inspires me and make me look around. Of course, i love your recipes and the photos. I'm so excited about the sorbet and just waiting to try it after my final exam's over!

Brian Samuels Photography June 8, 2011 um 5:34 am

I have been looking for a really solid sorbet recipe and it looks like I've come to the right place! Lovely!

Verena June 8, 2011 um 12:09 pm

This looks so good! ItΒ΄s really perfect for hot summer days. I have to try it! And I know my kids will totally love it!
Have a wonderful day!


MΓ©ly du Chaudron Pastel June 8, 2011 um 1:41 pm

I would love to taste your shortbread cookies…
Your berries sorbet looks yummy, but I am more ice-creamed πŸ™‚
I usually made my ice cream without any milk or sugar : I use some freezed banana.

Beautiful pictures too πŸ™‚

melita June 8, 2011 um 2:24 pm

it looks very nice, what do you think about my blog? πŸ™‚

Cooking Contests June 8, 2011 um 4:16 pm

These pictures are beautiful! I've never tried making Sorbet before. Do you have a recipe that you use?
~Nancy Lewis~

AnjasFood4Thought June 8, 2011 um 5:13 pm

I've been making lemon sorbet recently for the first time and it worked out really well. Now your berry sorbet will be the next one in line. I can;t wait to try your gluten-free vanilla cookies eith millet fliur. In my brain they are already saved as milli vanilli shortbreads….

Helene June 8, 2011 um 5:33 pm

Nancy: the recipe is the post. Thank you!

kyleen June 8, 2011 um 5:34 pm

Hi Helene,

I just received your book from Amazon and it's amazing. Your pictures are so colourful and vibrant.

I wish I had an ice cream machine to make the sorbet!

Kristina June 8, 2011 um 5:59 pm

It looks so pretty, I would eat it all! πŸ™‚

keroiam June 8, 2011 um 6:29 pm

Thanks to Kyleen, I now know you have a book available! Can't wait to pick one up. You're recipes are great and photos are just so beautiful.

Anonymous June 8, 2011 um 8:21 pm

Looks yummy! I have the same colander as yours! I love it, i also like your little jars!

Shelby June 8, 2011 um 8:39 pm

Don't you just love sorbets in the summer? We've gotten really into Watermelon Granita's as well, so delicious! Thank you!

Corry June 8, 2011 um 9:09 pm

Love your blog. The photography is beautiful and your writing is heart warming. Your Mixed Berries Sorbet with Vanilla Shortbread Cookies makes me yearn for summer here in Australia. Your book "Plate to Pixel" is in the mail and I can hardly wait for it to arrive.

Jayne June 9, 2011 um 2:06 am

I wish berries were cheaper here… Sob. It's cos they aren't grown here. Ah well…

Lesley June 9, 2011 um 8:09 am

Just when I think your photos can't get any better, you come up with those beautiful ones – the way you captured the berries on the plate – oh wow, looks good, tastes good.

bridget {bake at 350} June 9, 2011 um 6:38 pm

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I can almost taste that sorbet!

Melissa June 9, 2011 um 6:42 pm

I am at my happiest when I gather people I love and respect around food. I know that'd make my grandmother smile.— So beautiful! This just made me shed a few tears- reminds of my grandmother as well who will be leaving her earthly life soon. She is a true Southern hostess!

Gen June 9, 2011 um 7:08 pm

Magnifique! Un ravissement pour les yeux et rafraichissement pour les papilles!

apaler1 June 9, 2011 um 7:47 pm

This is absolutely gorgeous. I definitely will try this out for a special get together with friends.

mycookinghut June 9, 2011 um 9:26 pm

Love sorbet and what else to say with mixed berries!! I could eat lots!!

autumn June 10, 2011 um 10:17 am

I too love turning summer fruits into sorbets! It's so simple, yet the results are so elegant. And seeing this made me realize that in all of my gluten-free baking, I've never tried making shortbread cookies! I'm definitely putting these on my kitchen to-do list. Thanks.

Unknown June 10, 2011 um 1:14 pm

This is my husbands department. He considers himself master of the ice cream maker. I'm going to have to nudge him in the sorbet department since I like that better than ice cream. Your sorbet is such a strong, vibrant beautiful color! I think I am now missing your mother too!

Alyson June 11, 2011 um 12:08 am

Yum! Looks a million times better than the failed rhubarb and custard ice cream I created last night.

showfoodchef June 11, 2011 um 5:54 am

Love the colors in this. I just finished your book yesterday and I'm seeing things with wide eyes today — very inspiring! I love how you write about your conversations with your Mom, it feels like I'm part of them. Big hugs.

BΓ©nΓ©dicte June 12, 2011 um 5:58 pm

I had to read out loud to my Hungarian boyfriend your explanation about French-style desserts (yoghurt and fruit)as it provided much needed support for the idea of simple desserts. I too have grown up with yoghurt/fruit as a dessert during the week and a more elaborate Sunday pudding. A Sunday thing, therefore special and looked-forward to. Not a feeling I want to let go of, even in this cake-loving country that is Hungary!

cocoa and coconut June 13, 2011 um 2:01 am

This sounds truly delicious! I love the vibrancy of the sorbet too!

LisaB June 14, 2011 um 6:42 pm

Thank you so much for the sorbet recipe. So simple. So delicious. I made my very first batch of sorbet using fresh local strawberries and frozen wild blueberries from Maine. It was amazing. Thanks again.

Natalie June 21, 2011 um 4:31 pm

U'm salavating just looking at this.

Foodtopii June 27, 2011 um 9:53 pm

Sounds like the perfect summer treat! So simple and so berry yummy! Any chance you can make this with blood oranges instead?

Corinna July 3, 2011 um 2:39 am

That raspberry sorbet looks delightfully delicious! What a treat!

Pete Morris January 27, 2012 um 7:06 pm

gosh what a beautiful colour – I can almost taste the berries looking at those pictures. ok, going to give this try at the weekend πŸ™‚

ritu July 10, 2012 um 1:57 am

Fab recipes!!
What is sweet rice flour? Is there a substitute for it??

Anonymous July 28, 2012 um 1:04 pm

Looks Amazingly Delicious, When i use to live at home in summer (in Australia) my mum started by making icecream with just frozen fruit especially mango, and banana and berries in a blender with soy milk a little crushed ice and some honey – Theeeen we got a champion juicer and they are sooo easy you just push the frozen fruit through and it comes out like sorbet its amazing and sooo yummy and best of all good for you!
Also crystlized giner and passionfruit frozen into ice cube trays adds great flavor as well.
I cant wait to have an oven again and be able to cook some of your delicious looking meals and i really love and admire all your photography work. Keep posting :.) x Rachel, ITALY

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