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Scooped: Raspberry-Campari Sorbet

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[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

If you prefer your desserts more tart than sweet, this sorbet is for you. And if you're a little addicted to the pleasantly bitter taste of Campari, this sorbet is really for you.

What, you don't want your ice cream bitter and not-sweet? Hear me out. This isn't about making some fancy-pants dessert out of humble raspberries.* It's about making raspberries taste even more like themselves.

* Okay, it's a bit fancy. Sorry.

Bite into a raspberry and what do you get? Sweet, yes, but also plenty of tartness. And there's a hint of bitterness as well, almost a papery-leafy flavor that helps cut the fruit's sweetness. That balance of sweet, tart, and bitter is what makes raspberries so interesting to eat.

Unfortunately making sorbet often robs raspberries of those nuances. You add so much sugar that their tartness gets obliterated, and even if you add lemon juice to compensate, the flavor isn't the same. Furthermore, the salt and sugar that go into raspberry sorbet also rob it of that slight bitterness that's so appealing. Fortunately, there's a way to get that bitterness back: Campari.

If you don't own a bottle, go buy one, make some Campari-sodas and Negronis, and thank me in the morning. Just a few tablespoons of the stuff add a gentle but assertive bitterness to raspberry sorbet, to say nothing of the liqueur's citrus complexity and gorgeous red color. Suddenly your very sweet and somewhat tart and maybe not quite right sorbet base tastes oddly of...raspberries again.

Buying that bottle of Campari is the most difficult thing about this recipe, which is mostly made in a blender and finished with a whisk—no cooking required. The sorbet makes a great light dessert on its own, but it's best used as a palate cleanser in between a heavier main course and a more full-bodied dessert.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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