Cactus SorbetHome >> Recipes
This sorbet is made from the fruits of Opuntia Ficusindica. They are known as Cactus Pear or Prickly Pear in English.
In French this fruit is called Figue de Barbarie, litterally 'Barbaria fig', from the old name of North Africa. And indeed that is where the gentlemen who sold me a kilogram of these intriguing fruits coming from. The fruit itself is Sicilian, as you can see from the photo.
Above you see the fruits on the tree, here at the Etablissements Kuntz in Frejus, the largest wholeseller of succulent plants in France. The difference in color is apparently not a reflection of the maturity nor the taste. The barbs are mechanically removed when they pick up the fruits, but they are dangerous to manipulate nonetheless. You need to peel them with fork and knife. Here, on my modest Ikea cutting board I was ready for the challenge.
First cut both ends off with a knife. Make sure you never touch the skin. The tiny barbs cannot be seen but they sure can ruin your afternoon. They get on your cloths and from there wait for days for the opportunity to make it under your skin.
Prick with a fork and cut the fruit in half.
Use the knife to detach the skin from the flesh.
Here you see all three fruit colors I got in my batch. Beetroot red, pineapple yellow and sweet potato orange. Nice!
Here are the skins ready for the bin. Lovely colors, even in artificial light!
The flesh sorted by colors. Notice how many seeds there are inside.
Put the flesh in a mixer, here my manual stainless steel moulin ŕ légumes. Crush them to get all the juice out. Don't worry if some seeds pass through.
Here is the result - it looks like freshly squeezed orange juice. Notice the different color patches, I haven't mixed it yet.
Add some sugar until you are pleased with the taste. Don't overdo it, the fruit is very sweet already.
Now you need to season your sorbet. The prickly pear has an interesting taste but it is rather bland. You need to add acidity. Use the juice of blood red oranges, lime or lemons until you are pleased with the taste.
Add some more sugar to balance the acidity as needed. You can also add vodka or, more appropriately, 100% Agave Tequila.
Now the second funniest part after peeling the cactus. The sieve. There are still many seeds in the mix and the sieve will get you a smooth liquid. It's better to sieve it after seasoning as it mixes the ingredients better and you won't need to heat the mixture to dissolve the sugar.
Refrigerate the mixture and pour it into the sorbet machine.
When the sorbet is hard, stop the machine and remove the blades.
Scoop it out and put in a freezer box. Freeze it before your serve.
This sorbet is really exceptional when served drizzled with lime juice and tequila. The sweetness of the prickly pear contrats beautifully with the tartness of the lime. The distilled agave - T Tequila - complements it perfectly. The best part is the bits of lime flesh frozen inside the sorbet. They are crunchy and packed with acidity and add unexpected mini explosions of pleasant tartness in your mouth. The ideal conclusion to a Tex-Mex meal.