Gale Gand’s White Chocolate Sorbet Recipe

Gale Gand is a terrific baker and her latest book, Chocolate & Vanilla, is a double-sided treat of a cookbook that’ll have you flipping the book over-and-over almost as much as you’ll flip over the chocolate and vanilla desserts inside!


Last weekend I was invited to a birthday party, and as I flipped through the pages of her book, I was intrigued by the delicious-looking recipe for White Chocolate Sorbet, which seemed a snap to make (which held a certain attraction too, I’ll admit, during this busy holiday season.)

I had a hunch this would go perfectly well with my Buckwheat Cake, which has the earthy taste of blé noir, but with a surprisingly light, delicate crumb.

Once the last of the buttery cake morsels disappeared off everyone’s plates at the party, all spoons headed towards the remains of the White Chocolate Sorbet left in the container.

And soon it was all gone.

Gale Gand’s White Chocolate Sorbet
Print Recipe
About 1 quart 1 quart (1 liter)
Because sorbets are less-rich than ice cream, they’ll become rather firm after spending the night in the freezer. So in addition to the vanilla, I added a shot of eau-de-vie de cacao, a clear distillation of cocoa beans that has the fine fragrance of chocolate in a distinctly hi-test base for flavor as well as texture. I would imagine this would be nice with a soupçon of Chartreuse or even light rum. And although I did a double-take when I saw the scant amount of sugar in the recipe, any skepticism was dashed when I tasted the finished sorbet, which had just the right bit of sweetness.
1 1/2 cups (375ml) whole milk
2/3 cup (160ml) water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
8 ounces (225g) best-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
1. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, water, sugar, and vanilla bean until it’s almost to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and add the pieces of white chocolate, whisking until they’re melted. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl set within a larger bowl of ice. (Rinse and air-dry the vanilla bean, and reserve it for another use.)
3.Stir the mixture until cool.
4. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: If you chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, there’s likely to be a white chocolate disk hardened onto the surface of the mixture when you go to churn it, so it’s recommended to freeze it just after it’s been chilled over the ice bath.

Adapted from Chocolate & Vanilla By Gale Gand with Lisa Weiss

Related Posts and Recipes

Buying an Ice Cream Machine

Tips for Keeping Homemade Ice Cream Soft

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream (Recipe)

How to Make Ice Cream Without a Machine

Ice Cream FAQs


  • Johnny
    December 20, 2006 9:43am

    Hi David, I just wanted to say that Gale Gand is one of my favorite pastry chefs. I’ve seen her show “Sweet Dream” in food network and it was great. She inspired me to bake!

  • December 21, 2006 11:35am

    Thanks for doing a great job running the Europe side of Menu for Hope III

  • January 30, 2007 10:16pm

    Hi David,
    I was really excited to see this recipe and your interview with Gale Gand. I love her recipes, they always work. I’m going to have to go and buy her book now.

    I was also happy to see that someone besides me fishes the vanilla bean out of the milk, lets it dry and uses it again. I don’t feel like such a cheapskate now. Or at least I feel like I have company.

  • April 12, 2009 5:26pm

    Hi David!
    I recently made this white chocolate sorbet and while it tasted delicious, we noticed that it was a bit chalky. I used a made-for-baking white chocolate. Do you know what might have happened to make it chalky and do you have any tips on avoiding the chalkiness in the future?


  • April 13, 2009 2:13am

    Hi Kim: Am not sure what you mean by “made for baking” but it’s noted to use good-quality white chocolate. I used Lindt, which is pretty easily available and it came out very smooth and creamy. So perhaps try that brand, or a similar-quality one.

  • April 14, 2009 12:47pm

    Hi Dave!
    Thanks for the quick reply. I used Valrhona Chocolate that came in a very large bar that was too big for regular snacking (though my boyfriend would disagree). I’ve always been really happy with the quality of Valrhona’s regular chocolate so I thought it would be ok in this recipe. I’ll try it with Lindt next time and see how it turns out.

  • Sam
    April 28, 2009 10:53am

    Could you point me in the right direction for figuring out how to do this without any dairy? Since my dad turned 50 he has become increasingly lactose intolerant. He loves your chocolate sorbet because it has a creamy richness like ice cream, and I am trying to figure out how to get a similar effect with other flavours. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  • April 28, 2009 10:58am

    Sam: White chocolate, by nature, contains milk solids, so if he’s avoiding dairy, unfortunately he would want to avoid this sorbet.

    Askinoise makes a white chocolate with goat milk, which is more-easily digested, and is delicious. I haven’t used dairy alternatives (like soy) but goat milk would work as well.

  • Svein
    September 6, 2009 2:43pm

    Very yummy recipe. I put in some threads of saffron and some Grand Marnier, as this was the alcohol I had in my cupboard. Which worked out very well.

  • September 6, 2009 6:53pm

    Svein: That’s a great variation. Love the idea of Grand Marnier in there. Thanks for writing in with that!

  • erin
    May 3, 2010 1:49pm

    Hmmm….any suggestions on using non-dairy milk? I can’t have cow’s milk or soy, so I’m limited to almond or hemp, but haven’t had much success freezing these. I know you mentioned you hadn’t tried soy, but I’m wondering if you’ve experimented with other milk alternatives?

  • May 3, 2010 4:49pm

    I haven’t made ice cream with non-dairy alternatives but since white chocolate has milk powder in it, for those avoiding dairy, this is likely not a recipe to try. You could try my Chocolate Sherbet with a non-dairy alternative. If you do, please let me know how it turns out in the comments there.

  • Brittany
    May 9, 2010 6:24pm

    Hello Chez David!

    I’m intrigued by this eau-de-vie de cacao…I’ve tried all the fruit eaux de vie with much delight but can’t find any information about where to buy said chocolate version. Help?

    Thanks :)

  • May 10, 2010 1:30am

    Hi Brittany: Check out my post, How to Find Foods and Other Items Mentioned on the Site for search tips. Good luck!

  • Mandy
    May 30, 2010 10:11pm

    Would this sorbet work using your “make ice cream without a machine” method?

  • May 31, 2010 2:02am

    Mandy: I’m not sure, because sorbets (such as this one) have less fat than traditional ice cream, and it may be less-creamy and a bit grainy. But if you do try it, I’d be interested in knowing how it turns out.

  • Erin
    July 14, 2010 9:59am

    With temperatures in Berlin around 35 the last two weeks, I’ve been making ice cream every other day. I left The Perfect Scoop at home and I’m now going through your other ice cream recipes. I have no idea why there aren’t more comments on this one! I just made this in the morning and it’s delicious! I can’t stop going back for more. I even used the cheapest white chocolate I could get my hands on (it’s what I had and I really wanted to make this) and the flavor was still great. Thanks a bunch for letting us know about this recipe!

  • December 4, 2010 7:50pm

    Hi David,

    I noticed some posts about lactose intolerance so I’d like to share what I’ve discovered about this, having been lactose intolerant myself.

    We get our dairy from a farmer. The milk, cream and cheeses are raw (unpasteurized), unhomogenized and organic. Here’s how fresh the milk is: The farmer milks the cows on Monday and it’s delivered on Tuesday. The cream is as thick as ice cream so it has to be diluted with milk. I use these for my raw ice creams and I don’t heat them so that we can reap the benefits of raw.

    We also get organic eggs from the farmer and I use these in my raw ice cream if a recipe calls for eggs. I wash them thoroughly in warm soapy water before cracking them though to get rid of any germs (I’ve read that salmonella can be on the outside of the shell and that if the shells are soft and very easy to crack it may be inside the egg). I will only use the organice eggs from the farmer because I can trust they are safe – these have hard shells. We haven’t had a problem in the 5 years we’ve been buying from him.

    I also use only organic agave nectar and sometimes raw, unfiltered honey in my ice creams with no problems. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar I just reduce the agave by 25% and also reduce the liquid by 25%.

    The best part is, since I started eating and drinking raw dairy, I’m no longer lactose intolerant!



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