It may be the dead of winter but that doesn't mean I've stopped craving ice cream. I'm definitely eating it less often than I do in the warmer weather, but from time to time nothing else will do when it comes time for a snack. Though mint chocolate chip will probably always be my first choice, sometimes I just want something totally different. That's exactly what happened recently when the urge to make ice cream struck. As I was trying to decide on a flavor, I saw the giant bag of oranges in my fridge and it hit me - sherbet!! I love orange sherbet, and have been meaning to make it for a while. Why not try it now in the midst of citrus season? I can't find much to love about winter but the wealth of gorgeous citrus fruit is definitely a highlight.
It turns out that making sherbet is really easy once you get all of the oranges juiced. I don't have a juicer so I was doing it by hand, and have to say it was sort of fun, maybe even therapeutic, up until about the 6th orange. The 7th and 8th were even less fun. All I could think about was watching episodes of the Barefoot Contessa where she uses the fancy electric juicer and makes it look so easy :) Oh, quick tip - be sure to zest your oranges before you juice them. Even though the recipe doesn't call for much zest, you can freeze the leftovers so you'll be all set next time you come across a recipe that calls for orange zest. I just throw mine in a resealable bag - I've got lemon, lime and orange zest stockpiled in my freezer.
The first thing you'll notice about this sherbet is that it doesn't have the intense orange color you're probably used to seeing from the ones in the store. I actually enjoy those faux orange versions, but this one blows those out of the water - it's far more delicious than any of the store-bought varieties I've tried. The flavor is bright - very reminiscent of a creamsicle - and the texture is light. I'm still on the fence about the pieces of orange zest in the sherbet; they looked pretty but I didn't love the stringy texture. So, I might leave them out next time, but otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing.
from Alton Brown (via FoodNetwork.com)
7 oz (1 cup) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (approx 2-3 pounds oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups very cold whole milk
Combine all of the ingredients except the milk in the bowl of a food processor (a blender would work too). Process until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the milk. Whisk to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. You can serve immediately, but the sherbet will be soft. For a firmer texture, transfer to an airtight container and place in your freezer for at least a few hours.