Pour water and sugar into small saucepan and stir over low heat on stove until sugar dissolves. Cool.
Place sugar syrup, fruit and lemon juice in a blender and purée until smooth. If desired, push mixture through a coarse strainer (this will remove skin and seeds for a very smooth sorbet, but is not necessary).
Mix in vodka or liqueur (alcohol promotes a less crystalline texture) and freeze as directed for your ice cream maker; if you don't have one, follow directions below for granita.
This icier version is just as satisfying. Follow the directions above until you have the fruit purée. Pour it into a shallow, freezer-safe container. Freeze for about 45 minutes, then mix and break up ice with a fork. Continue to freeze, mixing every half hour or so, until desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a lidded container and store in freezer.
Calories vary depending on fruit and how much sugar is used.
Sweet & Savoury Sorbet Ideas
Here are some unusual combinations to get you started, but feel free to use whatever fruit and herbs strike your fancy. (Follow the directions in the Basic Recipe above.)
To lime juice, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped mint right before churning in ice cream maker or freezing.
Per serving (made with 1 cup/250 ml sugar)
Omit lemon juice. To orange juice, add 1 tsp (5 ml) each ground cinnamon and whole allspice berries (or 1/2 tsp/2 ml ground) to water and sugar, then heat as directed. (Strain out allspice berries before continuing.)
Per serving (made with 1/2 cup/125 ml) sugar: 146 calories
Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper
Omit lemon juice. Purée strawberries, and add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) aged balsamic vinegar. Season with a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Per serving (made with 1/2 cup/125 ml sugar): 108 calories
Add a thin slice of peeled fresh ginger to water and sugar, and heat as directed (remove ginger before puréeing). Purée blackberries. Per serving (made with 1/2 cup/125 ml sugar): 112 calories
Tomato Basil (fun as an appetizer or a break between courses).
Peel, core and seed tomatoes, and purée with water. Season with a small amount'1 Tbsp (15 ml) or less of sugar, and salt to taste. Mix in 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil and a few twists of freshly ground pepper. Per serving: 36 calories