Members' Recipes Archive

August 2002
Raspberry Vinegar Sorbet
Maxine Clark

Raspberry Vinegar Sorbet

By: Maxine Clark

I have some truly great childhood memories of growing up with food in Scotland. One abiding memory is of family outings to one of the pick-your-own farms in our area (Dundee) to pick fruit to be frozen or made into jams by my mother. The smell of her jam-making will stay with me forever, also the sight of rows of jars of plums from the 100 year old trees in the garden, bottled at the height of the season. We would spend a glorious day (it never seemed to rain then!), picking raspberries on one of the farms in The Carse of Gowrie. Then we would pile into the car with baskets brimming with the jewel-bright fruit, and our stained mouths and nostrils filled with the heady perfume of the crushed berries.

My mother would always recall days spent visiting her grandmother in the summer when a mysterious drink called raspberry vinegar would be made for the children. We would all wince in the back of the car at the horror of drinking vinegar with raspberries floating in it, until Mum explained that it was a fruit syrup made with raspberries, sugar and vinegar and served like a cordial, with ice and water. Sadly, Mum never made it when we were children, as Robinson's Barley Water seemed to do the trick instead! But I was always dying to taste it.
When I was older, I was trusted to read my grandmother 'Tootie's' recipe book which she started writing in her beautiful copperplate as a young 'gel', just before she married my grandfather. I found the recipe for Raspberry Vinegar. It was begging to be made, so, armed with a good pile of Scottish rasps, I made it as a surprise for my mother. As she tasted it, you could see the memories flooding over her face as the liquid hit its mark, and she added that Grandad loved to pour the vinegar over his Yorkshire pudding (being originally from those parts). It was really delicious, and I started to think of other ways to use the syrupy vinegar.

As we poured it over the delicious Italian vanilla ice cream still made at Visocchi's in Broughty Ferry, I decided to make a sorbet with the vinegar. Strange idea you may say. But it really works. The vinegar is whizzed up with even more raspberries and when made into a sorbet, the vinegar just seems to bring out the intensity of the raspberries to an outrageous degree. In fact the vinegar is almost undetectable. The recipe works very well with frozen raspberries too. I have served this on one of my cooking courses in Italy with sun-ripened fresh peach halves and real vanilla ice cream. I make a similar sorbet with ripe strawberries, sugar syrup and enough balsamic vinegar to bring out the flavour of the strawberries and cut the sweetness of the syrup. I've even served a scoop with summer pudding on a sultry summer's evening in London to completely gild the lily.

I have recently returned to live in Perthshire, Scotland after working in London for 20 years, I cannot quite believe the quality of the local produce - especially 'the berries', as we used to call them (never mind the game, the local lamb and beef, wild boar and venison and wonderful wild mushrooms....I could go on forever). That is why I am posting this recipe - for me it is the essence of summers in Scotland.


For the raspberry vinegar (makes about 725ml):
450g fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
285ml cider or wine vinegar
caster sugar

For the sorbet:
450g fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
250ml cold raspberry vinegar


1.To make the vinegar, place the half the raspberries in a non-corrosive jug or jar and cover with the vinegar. Leave in a cool place for 5 days (2 at the least), shaking occasionally. Strain (without crushing) into a measuring jug and discard the now-floppy raspberries. Measure the liquid and pour into a saucepan, adding 350g sugar per 600ml of liquid. Bring slowly to the boil to dissolve the sugar, then boil for 2-3 minutes until lightly syrupy. Pour into warm sterilised bottles and seal.

2. To make the sorbet, blend the remaining raspberries with the cold vinegar syrup in a food processor, then pass through a sieve to remove the seeds (if you like). Freeze in an ice cream machine or pour into a freezerproof container, freeze until just freezing around the edges, then stir well. Do this twice more then cover and freeze for up to 1 month. After this time the sorbet loses its 'sparkle'.

© Recipe copyright 2002 Maxine Clark


Author: Maxine Clark Email:

Sam Stern's Cookery Course: For Students in the Kitchen
Sam Stern's Cookery Course: For Students in the Kitchen
by Sam Stern
More Books