Canned Apricot Sherbet

dish with scoops of canned apricot sherbetThe store where I shop recently expanded its selection of canned fruits. Several weeks ago I noticed that there were canned apricots on the shelf and decided to buy a can. I put the can in a kitchen cupboard and figured that I’d eat the apricots “someday,” so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet just a few days later.

The sherbet was easy to make with just three ingredients – canned apricots, sugar, and water. It was light and refreshing, and makes a delightful summer treat.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill

Today sherbet is often a summer dessert, but a hundred years ago sherbet and ice cream were often winter treats. Many people did not have ready access to ice in the summer, but could easily use ice or snow to make frozen desserts during the winter.

The directions in the old recipe about using snow to make the sherbet reminded me of when I used to post my grandmother’s diary entries. As some of you may remember, I originally started this blog as a place to post my grandmother’s diary entries a hundred-years to the day after she wrote them. She kept the diary when she was a teen living on a farm in central Pennsylvania. On Sunday, February 12, 1911 she wrote about making ice cream:

Pa and Ma went away today and we had the house to ourselves while they were gone. Of course we had a fine dinner for my sister is an excellent cook, or rather she thinks she is. Any way we had dinner. Ice cream consisted of part of it. I had to turn the freezer, which I soon tired of. (I usually tire of anything I don’t like.) Any how I froze that cream so hard that it all crumbled up in big chunks . . .

Where did Grandma get the snow or ice that she used to make the ice cream? Did she gather snow from a snow bank? . . . or did she find some large ice cycles that had fallen off the roof? . . . or maybe she went down to the nearby creek to gather ice. . . or . . .

Then, two weeks later on Sunday February 26, 1911, she wrote:

I went to Sunday school this afternoon and staid for church and catechize. The walking was extremely bad, but still I went. We had chocolate ice cream for supper. We all rather like it, so we have it occasionally which is about once in a week.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Canned Apricot Sherbet

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 can apricots (regular size can – approximately 1 pound)

2 cups sugar

1 cups cold water

Drain apricots and press through a sieve.  (I used a Foley mill. The apricots could also be pureed using a food processor or blender.) Set aside.

Put sugar and water in a mixing bowl; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in apricot pulp.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, then place in ice cream maker and freeze. (I used a 1 1/2 quart automatic electric maker.)

Apricot Sponge Recipe

apricot sponge

Apricots are my favorite June fruit. Around here, they are only available a few weeks, and each year I eagerly look forward to their appearance at the store. I recently bought some apricots, so was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Apricot Sponge.

Apricot Sponge is a smooth, silky dessert that is served with whipped cream.

My daughter ate some Apricot Sponge, and said, “A top-five recipe.”  In her opinion, this is one of the top five hundred-year-old recipes that I’ve served her. She thinks that it tastes like a luscious dessert that she ate at a fancy restaurant.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Apricot Sponge

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 pound apricots (about 7 medium apricots)

water for peeling apricots

1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 envelope (0.25 ounce) unflavored gelatin

2  egg whites (pasteurized)

whipped cream (see below)

First, peel apricots. To do this, fill a saucepan two-thirds full with water. Using high heat bring to a boil. Drop apricots into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove from water with a spoon. Pinch a piece of the loosened apricot skin, then peel by slipping the skin off.

Cut the peeled apricots in half and remove stones. Place the apricots halves in a saucepan; add 1/4 cup of water. Using medium heat, heat until the apricots are softened, while stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat, then push the cooked apricots through a sieve. (I used a Foley mill). Measure the apricot pulp. There should be approximately 1 cup. Return to pan and reheat.

In the meantime, put 1/4 cup cold water in a small bowl; sprinkle the gelatin on the water. Let sit for about 3 minutes. Then stir the softened gelatin and the sugar into the hot apricot pulp.

Remove from heat, put into refrigerator and chill at least 3 hours.

After the mixture has chilled, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then, beat the chilled apricot mixture until smooth. Gently fold the beaten apricot mixture into the beaten egg whites. Spoon into serving bowls or cups.  Serve with whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Put cream in a bowl; beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until combined.