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.