Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blood Orange Sorbet

Now that the Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations are over and life is a bit less hectic, I've had time to try out the gorgeous ice cream maker that L gave me for Christmas! I've coveted one for a quite a while, and am absolutely thrilled with this one. For a machine with such a simple mechanism it works beautifully, and we've had great success with it so far. L certainly knows that fun kitchen gadgets are the way to my heart!

As citrus season is upon us and there are so many tasty fruits just waiting to be eaten, I've been experimenting entirely with fruit sorbets. The very first thing I made was a positively addictive, intensely refreshing Italian Lemon Ice (post on that coming soon) from The Gourmet Cookbook that, for some reason, doesn't seem to be in their online recipe database. I was worried that it would be too sweet, but during our many taste tests I realised that I should have a bit more faith in Gourmet's recipes- the Lemon Ice was tart and sweet, with a fabulous icy mouth-feel and lovely hint of bitterness from the zest. We immediately made three more batches to share with family and friends at holiday dinners.

Aside from blueberries, I think blood oranges have got to be my favourite fruits, so naturally, I've been itching to make a blood orange sorbet. If you have an electric juicer and/or microplane zesting rasp, now is the time to use both. The lovely thing about sorbet is that when you base your recipes on flavours combinations you love, you really can't go terribly wrong when experimenting. Happily, we were thrilled with my first pass at blood orange sorbet- the texture is very smooth, and the intense blood orange flavour comes right through, with just the right balance of honeyed sweetness and bright citrus tang. I love the vibrant rosy colour, too!

So many sorbet recipes call for water to make the simple syrup, but I like a more intense flavour and colour, so I prefer to use only juice. I also adore the flavour of honey paired with fruits, so for citrus sorbets, I try to use honey in place of granulated sugar whenever possible. According to David Lebovitz (The Perfect Scoop), honey gives frozen desserts a smoother texture, too, due to the higher concentration of sugars.

If you made New Years resolutions to get healthier, exercise more, or at least try to eat better, then this is the perfect dessert for you. If you didn't bother with those kinds of resolutions, you can eat even more sorbet in one sitting!

Blood Orange Sorbet

3 cups (24 ounces/710 ml) freshly squeezed blood orange juice
3/4 cup (6 ounces/177 ml) cup good honey or 1 cup (8 ounces/227 g) white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (28 grams) finely grated blood orange zest
2 tablespoons blood orange pulp (optional)
pinch of salt

Make a simple syrup by warming 1 cup of blood orange juice with honey or sugar over low heat, stirring frequently, until the honey or sugar has completely dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in zest and salt. Stir in blood orange pulp, if using.

Pour simple syrup into a bowl with the remaining 2 cups blood orange juice and stir to combine.

Chill mixture thoroughly, then freeze according to your ice cream maker instructions. Initially, the sorbet will seem fairly soft, but it will firm up considerably in the freezer.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, don't worry- you can turn this into a granita! Pour the chilled mixture into a shallow pan and freeze, stirring with a fork every 30 minutes, until slushy- about 2 hours.


VeggieGirl said...

blood orange sorbet?? sounds positively spectacular!! and your photographs are quite captivating.

la petite gourmande said...

Thanks much!

The sorbet is really, really easy- I think everyone with a freezer should give it a try. I was amazed at how addicted I've become so quickly!

If you don't have the time or energy to make it, though, I've seen some tasty blood orange sorbets in the grocery store this time of year...

Anonymous said...

hi petite,
where are you?
are you still experimenting with your ice-cream maker?

I'm becoming an ice-cream myself, since it's too cold here in these days.

take care.

la petite gourmande said...

hi lesha!

so sorry i disappeared! our internet at home has been out for days, and work has been crazy busy.

i've been so taken with the sorbets that i've made the same ones a few times now! i wish i could send you some, but it might just make you colder!!! keep warm!