Cranberry & Vanilla Bean Sorbet

Cranberry and Vanilla Bean Sorbet from the November 2009 issue of Bon Appétit

1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries

2 ½ cups water

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Combine cranberries, 2 1/2 cups water, sugar, and coarse salt in large heavy saucepan.  Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean.  Add bean to mixture and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Reduce heat to low; simmer until cranberries pop and are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

Remove vanilla bean from cranberry mixture.  Working in batches, puree cranberry mixture in blender or food processor.  Strain into large bowl; discard solids. Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate cranberry mixture until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Transfer cranberry mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to container; cover and freeze.

Notes:  the second time I made this, I forgot the lemon juice and it’s still delicious.  In fact, I’m enjoying some right now.  Both times I’ve made the sorbet, I’ve thought two cups of sugar sounded like a lot, even though cranberries are a very tart fruit.  I’ve been too scared to reduce the sugar, but it could probably do with a quarter cup less.  Also, if you don’t want to use a precious vanilla bean, a large tablespoon of vanilla paste will certainly work.