Tag Archives: Ice Cream

Orange vanilla sherbet

This is my favorite thing I’ve made in an ice cream machine so far. Hands down.

Seriously, y’all. This stuff is phenomenal. It’s creamy and indulgent, but not heavy, and it floats on a spoon like ice cream. The flavor is intensely, almost explosively orange, with a wallop of brightness in each bite. It’s reminiscent of a Creamsicle, or rather, of what a Creamsicle wishes it could taste like: sweet but not babyish, lush but not dense. And it’s even pretty too, with pinpricks of vanilla and tiny shreds of orange zest scattered throughout.

This is about as decadent as sherbet gets: a whole cup of cream, a whole vanilla bean’s worth of seeds, and a full shot of triple sec. That’s not an apology, mind you. I love how this is the kind of dessert you could imagine kids going nuts for (minus the booze), but also the kind of thing you can happily pamper yourself with as a grown-up. It’s refreshing and luxurious, and–dare I say it–even a little sexy.

The secret weapon here is fresh orange juice. And by fresh, I do mean squeezed. It takes a fair number of oranges to make enough juice for a batch of sherbet, but there really is no comparison. I’m lucky, and have a friend with an incredibly prolific orange tree; if you don’t, just go for the juiciest oranges you can find, the ones you would be happy eating out of hand. I can imagine this working gorgeously with tangerines, too, if you can get those more easily. Oh, and orange juice freezes beautifully, so if oranges are cheap and juicy in winter, just buy ’em, juice ’em, and store the juice till the weather heats up. I made my sherbet with frozen thawed juice, and it still blew my mind.

This sherbet is so flavorful and dreamy that just a small scoop is enough to satisfy (yes, really). On a hot-and-sticky summer afternoon, with the windows open and the fan droning, there’s absolutely nothing better.

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Lemon elderflower sorbet

My friend Anthony’s parents have a very prolific lemon tree. The last time he went to visit them, he came home with ten pounds of lemons, and promptly foisted about nine pounds off on me. I was grateful, to be sure, but it was a bit of a scramble to figure out how to use them all up before they went bad. I made a big batch of lemon curd, and a pair of lemon pies (which I neglected to photograph, whoops). That still left me with a hefty armful of lemons, slowly slumping and wrinkling and growing uglier by the day. Enter the ice cream machine.

I could have just made a simple lemon sorbet. But I wanted something jazzier, so I added a shot of elderflower liqueur. Partly, it was a practical choice: a splash of alcohol in a fruit sorbet is a quick-and-tipsy way to keep it from freezing too hard. But I was also curious how the flavors of lemon and elderflower would mingle together in a chilly base.

As it turns out, they get along just fine. The sorbet turned out really lovely, shimmering yellow with tiny saffron-flecks of zest throughout. The liqueur hummed quietly, subtly, in the background, amplifying the intense floral fruitiness of the lemon itself. It was the kind of thing I could easily imagine as a palate cleanser at a snooty dinner party, or as a bracing after-dinner treat on a sticky summer evening.

Even with the booze, this sorbet is best eaten within a few hours. The longer it sits in the freezer, the icier and harder it’ll get. I ended up leaving my sorbet for two weeks before eating it, which meant I ended up with a crackly crystallized lump instead of a lush scoopable mass. I had to chip it into glasses like a granita. The flavor was still terrific, but it didn’t have the soft spoon-sliding texture I had hoped for. If you’re going to keep the sorbet longer than a day, make sure to take it out of the freezer well before serving it, to give it time to soften and relax.

Oh, and if you don’t think a bowl and a spoon is enough fanfare, try slipping a spoonful of sorbet into a flute of sparkling wine. I know.

lemon elderflower sorbet

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