Ice Cream Sunday - Grapefruit Basil Sorbet

There’s one thing from my childhood that I really miss eating – a good Italian ice. My aunt, who used to live in New York City, first introduced me to Italian ice. Every summer, my brother and I hopped on a plane and went to spend 3 weeks with her family, and no visit was complete without Chinese food in Chinatown, a slice of Gloria’s pizza, Jewish bagels from a Forest hills deli, a trip to Aqueduct Flea Market for cheapy, cheapy shopping, and Italian ice. Clearly, I was always a foodie, even then.

Grapefruit Basil Sorbet ©

There is something quintessentially New York, about walking through the aisles and aisles of flea market “stuff”, sucking back that ice cold treat that invariably stained my tongue blue, red or yellow depending on the flavor I picked. They always came in white paper cups and the first couple of bits or licks the ice was firm, but if I didn't eat it fast enough,  I'd end up with a paper cup filled with slush, and rivers of sticky, syrupy juice running down my arm. 

Grapefruit Basil Sorbet ©

Sorbets are usually made with fruit juices, tend to be smoother, and have a more grown up, refined mouthfeel aka less crunch because the ice isn’t as grainy. They can be made more grown up by adding alcohol to them, and to me they are a welcome change from ice cream especially on a very hot day. I've had lots of different sorbets but my favourite has always been a citrus sorbet because of its refreshing, palate cleansing abilities, and once again I have my aunt to thank for introducing me to this. Her love of grapefruits was well known amongst family and friends, so today's recipe is in remberance of her, hot summer days and happy summer memoriesMiss you sooo much Aunty O.

Ice Cream Sunday - Grapefruit Basil Sorbet

yield: 6 Servings  prep time: 30 minute(s)
cook time: 25 minute(s)  total time: 55 minute(s)


2 cups
1 3⁄4 cup
Lemons zested and juiced
1 cup
Packed Fresh Basil Leaves
Ruby Red Grapefruit (juiced)
1 pinch


1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling add the lemon zest, basil leaves and salt. Stir, remove from heat, and cover. Steep the basil leaves in the simple syrup for at least 20 minutes.

2. Add lemon juice to a 4-cup measuring pitcher, then Juice the grapefruits into the pitcher until you’ve measured 3 cups of combined juices.

3. Strain the simple syrup and discard the basil leaves. Then mix the syrup with the juice. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours (or to speed up, put in the freezer for 1 hour.)

4. Pour the sorbet mixture into an electric ice cream maker. Turn on and mix for 20+ minutes, until the mixture reaches a “soft serve” consistency. Eat the sorbet immediately, or put in an airtight container and freeze. After frozen, allow the sorbet to sit out for 10-15 minutes to soften before serving.


(Recipe taken from The Spicy Perspective)