Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jess's Recipes: Sour Citrus Sorbet

Tiny packages of goodness

Growing up in our house on Valley View street, we had this amazing tangerine tree in our backyard. I used to sit in the tree on autumn afternoons picking the still greenish fruit, peeling off the skin, and meticulously removing all the white stringy stuff so I was left with nothing but the tiny jeweled segments.

These tangerines were small-ish, mostly seedless and flat on both ends (no protruding top like some tangelos). The skin was particularly loose and easy to peel with a relatively dull orange, almost greenish color even when ripe. The fruit itself was heavenly -- tart and sweet -- each slice popped open in your mouth with very little of that nasty thick fibrous segment "wall" that many tangerines tend to have.

I haven't found many tangerines like this since then, until last month they started popping up all around the markets in Kampong Cham. So far I've eaten 3 kilos myself and despite the fact that they're oh-so-delicious just as is, I thought maybe I should to use the little gems for something exciting...

The finished product -- nice and tart

Sour Citrus Sorbet (no ice cream machine necessary)

12 small tangerines (satsuma or robinsons are yummy)
6 Mexican/Asian limes (the small ones)
1 kaffir lime (bumpy skin, available in Asian food stores)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

food processor or blender

1) Zest the kaffir lime. Make sure the zest is small -- it will be going into your sorbet. Don't worry about getting down to the white part because kaffir limes are generally not too bitter.
2) Juice the remaining tangerines and limes, don't strain out the pulp. If you don't have a juicer, separate the seeds with a coarse strainer. You should end up with about 2 cups of juice. Put your juice in the refrigerator to chill.
3) Add sugar, water, and kaffir lime zest to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes, or until content has reduced by half, then turn off the heat
4) Add your syrup to the reserved juice and stir well. Pour into a shallow metal dish or ice cube tray and freeze for two hours or until the juice begins to freeze on the sides and top.
5) Take the mixture from the freezer and pulse it in your food processor or blender about ten times. The juice should be frothy and mostly opaque. Put it back in the pan and freeze another 5 hours, until pretty solid.
6) Take the mixture out and pulse it in the blender again. The sorbet should have a smooth, but soft texture and be able to hold its shape. Make into balls and freeze for another hour or so. Serve immediately with extra zest for garnish or put it in a container and cover the surface of the sorbet with plastic wrap to inhibit ice crystals. If your sorbet becomes icy after too long in the freezer, simply give it another whirl in the food processor before serving.

I plan to try different citrus combinations -- pumelo is the next contender, with chili-salt topping! It might also be yummy to add a tbsp or two of Alize, Cointreau or Grand Marnier to smooth out the texture and add a kick, but I haven't tried these myself. Just remember, adding alcohol means a slower freezing time, so if you try it, you may need to increase the suggested time in the freezer.

Kaffir lime for zesting!

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