|Main ingredients||Water, sugar, flavoring (fruit juice or purée, wine, or liqueur, and very rarely honey)|
The word sherbet (see sharbat for the drink) first entered the language as the Italian sorbetto, which later became sorbet in French. The first Western mention of sherbet is an Italian reference to something that Turks drink. In the 17th-century, England began importing "sherbet powders" from Ottoman Empire made from dried fruit and flowers mixed with sugar. By 1662, a coffeehouse in London advertised the availability of "sherbets made in Turkie of Lemons, Roses and Violets perfumed". In 1670, Café Procope opened in Paris and began selling sorbet. (In the modern era sherbet powder is still popular in the UK.) When Europeans figured out how to freeze sherbet they began making sorbetto by adding fruit juices and flavorings to a frozen simple syrup base. In the US sherbet generally meant an ice milk, but recipes from early soda fountain manuals include ingredients like gelatin, beaten egg whites, cream, or milk.
Agraz is a type of sorbet that is usually associated with the Maghreb and north Africa. It is made from almonds, verjuice, and sugar. It has a strongly acidic flavour, because of the verjuice. (Larousse Gastronomique)
Givré (French for "frosted") is the term for a sorbet served in a frozen coconut shell or fruit peel, such as a lemon peel.
In English Canada, sherbet is defined as a "frozen food, other than ice cream or ice milk, that is made from a milk product". Sherbet contains up to 5% milk solids. A typical Canadian sherbet may contain water, a sweetening agent, fruit or fruit juice, citric or tartaric acids, flavouring preparation, food coloring, sequestering agent(s), and lactose.
Commercially produced sherbet in the United States is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as a frozen product containing one or more optional dairy products. Sorbet, on the other hand, is made with sweetened ice and no dairy; it is similar to Italian ice, but made with real fruit instead of imitation flavoring.
Homemade sherbets do not always contain dairy. Early 20th-century American recipes for sherbet include some versions made with water. The American Kitchen Magazine from 1902 distinguishes "water ices" from sherbets, explaining that "sherbets are water ices frozen more rapidly, and egg white or gelatin is often added to give a creamy consistency". In one recipe for pineapple sherbet, water may be used in place of milk. It also separately discusses "milk sherbets".
According to The American Produce Review (1913) "Sherbet is a frozen product made from water or milk, egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and flavoring material". Sherbets are made from a base of "plain ice" which is water, sugar, egg whites, and lemon juice.
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