prickly pear sorbet

i first had prickly pear sorbet around 1997 in southern california when i worked at a southwestern restaurant for the salsbury family. it was so deeply sweet and had a magnificent mad magenta color. it completely vexed me. i have it now and again to this day. it remains a treat and a special occasion when i do.

i love the dichotomy of the prickly pear- hurtful and hideous on the outside yet tropical and vibrant like a gaugin. as i have distilled this concept over the years, i have come to understand that it is the hidden beauty in each of us that holds the real allure. so often i see others (or they see me) as the thorny beast that hides the sweetness within.

here is a recipe. try it out for yourself..

This sorbet is a revelation. The taste is floral, reminiscent of watermelon, but really it’s a flavour all of its own. It’s like sunshine, both the colour and the taste are so bright. It’s an unusual fruit, but once you’ve tasted the sorbet you’ll wonder why it’s taken you so long to discover it.

Prickly pear sorbet

5 large prickly pear fruits, scrubbed (see instructions above) and cut into quarters ¾ cup of water Juice of 1 lime ½ cup raw caster sugar

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It all starts with prickly pears. Photograph: Lauren Bamford


Blitz the quartered prickly pears in a food processor, until a pulpy liquid. Strain through a sieve, removing the tiny seeds. What you should then have is a thick, fleshy, prickly pear juice.

In a small saucepan bring the water and lime juice to boil. Add half a cup of raw caster sugar. Turn the heat down and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

Add cooled sugar syrup to the juice, and if you have an ice cream maker, churn. If you do not have an ice cream maker, freeze mixture in a steel tray.

When frozen, remove, chop roughly and blitz in a food processor. Freeze again, and repeat this process two more times. The sorbet should then be a lovely smooth consistency.

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