Saturday, November 14, 2009

Clementine Sorbet

On a hot night with ridiculous heat, I went to the freezer looking for ice cream, but alas, we were out. As I was staring blankly into the freezer, I noticed a cylindrical plastic “thing.” I had no idea what it was, so I asked my wife.

“It’s a drum for an ice cream maker.”
“Wait, we have an ice cream maker?” I asked.
“Yes. It works great.”
“Sweet mercy, “ I exclaimed. “Get me some Clementines!”

Sadly, the idea of making a Clementine sorbet proved to be a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. The first thing to frustrate me was the laborious process of hollowing out each Clementine that I wanted to use as a bowl for the sorbet. Fortunately, a grapefruit knife helped tremendously.

The next pitfall was a poorly worded recipe that called for adding orange zest to the simple syrup. I had to thaw the sorbet to strain the zest and then put it back into the ice cream maker. I also should have chilled the simple syrup and Clementine juice before adding it to the ice cream maker. Although it was hard to prepare, I think that the next time I make this dessert, it will be a snap.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret making these. They were so freaking delicious. As you ate the sorbet out of the orange peel bowl, the heat of your hands warmed up the orange. The oils in the peel became active and the scent of the orange mingled with the sorbet in such a delightful way. All in all, the frozen Clementines were well worth the effort.

Clementine Sorbet

12 servings

12-18 Clementines
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
juice of 2 lemons
fresh orange juice (if necessary)
fresh mint leaves for garnish

1. Slice the tops off 12 of the Clementines to make lids and set them aside. With a paring knife, grapefruit knife and/or spoon, remove the flesh from the 12 Clementines and place in a bowl. Do not tear or rip the peels. They will serve as bowls. Scrape out as much of the membrane as you can. When finished, place the Clementine tops and shells in the freezer.

2. Place the water and sugar into a saucepan. Boil until the sugar disappears. Stir in the lemon juice. Set aside to cool.

3. Juice the remaining Clementines, as well as the flesh that you set aside while removing the flesh from the shells. You will need about 3 ¾ cups of juice. If you do not have enough, you can either juice more Clementines or make up the difference with orange juice.

4. Combine the Clementine juice and simple syrup. Place in the freezer and allow to cool for 1-2 hours. Whisk every 30 minutes to keep large ice crystals from forming.

5. Once cchilled, churn the mixture in an ice cream maker until the sorbet holds its shape.

6. Gently fill the Clementine shells with the sorbet, mounding them up to create a nice portion. Place the lids on top, then put into the freezer for at least two hours.

7. For service, you can transfer the Clementines to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the sorbet to soften. Or you can serve straight from the freezer. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

You might add a tablespoon of vodka to the juice mixture before putting it into the ice cream maker. The alcohol in the vodka will result in fewer ice crystals forming, which will result in softer sorbet.

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