Sherbert is an ice cream-like frozen dessert that was a favorite of mine as a child and it instantly brings back memories when I take a bite. I usually opted for rainbow sherbert because I liked the swirl of colors, but strawberry was always the flavor I ate first. This Quick and Easy Homemade Strawberry Sherbert is probably quite a bit better than the sherbert I ate as a kid, though I still felt those same memories – playing in the park on a hot day, going to the ice cream truck with friends after school, splashing in a pool at a birthday party – rushing back with every berry-filled bite.
Sherbert (a.k.a. sherbet) is a frozen dessert that actually has a legal definition, per the FDA. It is defined as being a frozen dessert that contains milk or dairy, sugar and fruit or specified non-fruit ingredients (including alcohol, nuts, chocolate, spices, etc) that “weighs not less than 6 pounds to the gallon” and has a “milkfat content is not less than 1 percent nor more than 2 percent.” In other words, it is similar to ice cream, but has less fat and less dairy overall. Most sherberts are fruit-based, but regardless of the flavor, that lower dairy content means that the flavor in a sherbert is more vibrant than it would be in ice cream, where a bold flavor might be tempered by the richness of the cream.
This Quick and Easy Homemade Strawberry Sherbert has tons of strawberry flavor to it, thanks to a generous amount of fresh strawberries that go into the mix. The strawberries are pureed and combined with heavy cream, sugar and ice. Now, you may be thinking that ice is a strange ingredient for a frozen dessert, but I added ice to this sherbert because it is actually prepared entirely in a blender. The ice purees completely in the blender, much as it does when you’re making a smoothie, and serves to chill down the sherbert base, allowing it to freeze with fewer large ice crystals and leave you with a smoother finished product. You can make this with either half and half or heavy cream. The heavy cream might push this sherbert slightly over the legally defined upper fat content, but it makes it a bit richer without dampening the flavor of the strawberries. While I used fresh berries, frozen berries can also be used without defrosting them.
You will be impressed at how well this sherbert turns out with so little effort – and you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried making more frozen desserts in a blender. Be sure to blend thoroughly, as you want the sherbert to be as smooth as possible. After blending, pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and let it chill for about 2 hours before it is firm enough to scoop and serve.
Quick and Easy Homemade Strawberry Sherbert
2 heaping cups fresh, hulled strawberries (approx 12-14 oz)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
16 large ice cubes/1 tray/2 heaping cups
Combine all ingredients, except the ice, in a blender and pulse the blender a few times to combine. Add in ice and blend at low speed until the ice is crushed, then turn speed up to high and blend until very smooth and frothy, about 60 seconds.
Pour mixture into a loaf pan or shallow, freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours.