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Sicilian Tangerine Sorbet (page 2 of 2)

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Extraordinary sorbet served in the shell for a spectacular dessert suited for the calorie conscious vegetarian and the truffle-eating epicure alike. With no cooking and no ice cream machine required, this is an offer I can't refuse.
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Pour the tangerine juice into the syrup.

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Why add lemon juice? The tart and the sweet are what sorbets are about. But it is the tart, my friend, that is the soul of the party. Tangerines are usually bland and need something to kick their ass so that the dessert is a success. Lemon juice is an obvious choice, but a chemically-minded chef might use ascorbic acid.

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Mix the lemon juice with the tangerine juice, water and sugar. Drink some - is it tart enough? Too sweet maybe? You know what to do.

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Now for our most devious touch. A drop of orange blossom flower will add another dimension to our sorbet's flavor. But don't overdo it - a drop will do or the whole thing will reek like an insurance salesman's checkout-counter cologne.

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That's it - just pour into the ice cream churner. No ice cream machine? No worry. Just pour the liquid into a flat dish small enough to fit inside your fridge and leave until almost frozen. Then remove and grind down in a mixer or manually with a fork, and freeze again. Do this a couple times until you obtain a smooth mixture with no visible crystals. This is how people do it in Sicily.

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Remove the tangerine shells from the freezer. Take one in your hand - it will be hard.

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Carefully spoon the sorbet into the shell.

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With the churning and added liquid, there is plenty to go to fill each rind, and then some. Cover with the top and place back in the freezer until ready. Remove them 30 minutes before serving so they will not be too hard.

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Would this dessert have been nicer had my tangerines had their leaves on? You bet.

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The next week I did one with blood oranges - delicious!

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Different color but lovely taste as well. No orange blossom water needed here. Feel free to change the amount of sugar or to use no water for a stronger taste.

This was my entry for Sugar High Friday 'Citrus' from Domestic Goddess and Tartelette.


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If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!


Beautifully done, FX!  This will make for a wonderful summer treat.  I love the use of the shells for serving the sorbet :-)
  • #2
  • Comment by Beatrice
Those lucky enough to get their hands on Honeybells (a specialty tangerine that can be ordered from Florida) can make a fabulous sorbet using this simple yet lovely recipe.  Or you can use Mineola tangelos.  Add some perfumed Meyer lemons, and you have a hit!
I would definitely make this...I will definitely make this! Love the addition of orange blossom. Perfecto!
  • #4
  • Answered by fx
Allen, I regret so much not having found better looking tangerines and find now find myself scouring my local market for leaved citrus fruits for an encore!
  • #5
  • Answered by fx
Beatrice, you do know a lot more about citrus fruits than I do! My tangerines were not platonic ideals of the perfect tangerine, they were a bit bland and needed to be revived by the addition of lemony tartness! Florida and California might be two of the  few places that can beat Sicily for citrus fruits.
  • #6
  • Answered by fx
Claudia, I really recommend you try this tangerine sorbet, it's so gorgeous and simple, your guests will most probably remember this dessert for many years!
  • #7
  • Comment by layni
Gorgeous! Your beautiful photos make it all look so easy. Definitely a worthwhile summer experiment. This website is as lovely as it is inspiring.
This is a lovely dessert.  I've had it with the orange shell frozen - pretty special too and it keeps the sorbet from going too soft.
What a nice treat! I have a mandarin garden with perhaps 40 trees and always am looking for something nice besides juice, jam and just eating them. This is it. I have actually eaten this in Italia a few times but never thought to ask how it was made
Thank you
  • #10
  • Comment by david
Have you tried grating the outermost rind to add with sugar with the sugar? It will add another layer of flavor.
  • #11
  • Comment by Bryan
Hi FX,
The color and tonal radiance of this dish is fantastic.  What a wonderful dish for spring, I will have to try this.  I want to thank you for this site.  An absolutely amazing resource incomparable to any other.  Your dedication is truly astounding.  I recently was viewing a recent post titled THE FOUR HOUR LUNCH.  I personally was wondering how Crissier is as a suburb?  I have been wanting to take a trip to Switzerland for a long time and your post has motivated me to try and make the trip.  I was also curious on another matter attributed to your post.  Rather, please don't consider me a nuisance, I was wondering if you might consider a request for a future post?  Could it be at all possible to do a post on the duck you had at Phillippe Rochat?  I believe it was in a Brouilly sauce.  There are several reasons I ask this.  One, the dish looks utterly delicious and should I not be able to make it to Switzerland I would feel hopelessly at a loss and I am willing to bet everyone who read that post would feel the same.  Second, I have tried cooking duck before, and as you mention in your post, that rosy color is very hard to achieve.  I was wondering if you might offer a technique for achieving this perfection.  I do not think my request to be modest at all; however, I think it would provide wonderful insight into the techniques involved in cooking a duck, as well as exemplifying the extraordinary sumptuous cooking skills of Phillippe Rochat.  Thanks again for dealing with my lullings and thank you for this wonderful site.

Faithful reader,
Nicely done Francois!I can see making this for a nice treat this summer. It should work nicely after something coming off of the grill.
  • #13
  • Comment by Paul Mckenna
It reads brilliant and when in my Spanish villa I will try it.

Do you think it would be better presented with edible silver ?

Here is another one I must try. Since I live in Southern California I will make it with oranges and see what happens. Am trying to keep up with all your wonderful vegetarian recipes. Thanks
  • #15
  • Comment by rachel
it looks so good. i will have to try it tomorrow
  • #16
  • Comment by CJ
This is really interesting, most especially since it doesn't necessarily requires an ice cream maker. I'm 14 and I really frequent your blog, and surely, this one I'm gonna excitingly share with my mom!
Continue crafting great food (and drink)!
  • #17
  • Comment by Elizabeth
That comment about bottled water being better than city or well water makes you a complete idiot.  
  • #18
  • Comment by Luke
Wow, that sorbet looks amazing. The use of tangerines and orange blossom water reminds me of lassi I had one time made with rose hips and rosewater. Using flower water and its corresponding fruit together is a very interesting idea, but it's one I haven't seen often.
  • #19
  • Answered by fx
Elizabeth, thanks for your delicate insight. Of course you might point out that some idiots read 'bottled water' when I write 'mineral water' and think that both are faucet water in a bottle. Clearly they must be drinking the wrong sort of water. Am I an idiot to use mineral water in my sorbets? Maybe, but then so is Pierre Hermé and most French pastry chefs. But what do they know?
  • #20
  • Answered by fx
Layni, thanks for visiting and I hope you get to try one of these amazing citrus fruit sorbets!
  • #21
  • Answered by fx
Gizmar, indeed you need to freeze the hollowed shell otherwise it would be far too soft, and it keeps the sorbet cold to boot.
  • #22
  • Answered by fx
Frank, 40 mandarine trees in your garden? This sounds like the Garden of Eden! Try this sorbet, it is the easiest you can make, I just made another batch this afternoon using oranges. You don't even need to cook it!
  • #23
  • Answered by fx
David, yes you could use the rind but that entails trusting your entrails to the long chain of people between you and the tangerine tree. If any of them sprayed pesticides, wax or soap on your tangerine, they'll end up in your belly.
  • #24
  • Comment by Luke
In response to Elizabeth: FX didn't mention well water, but rather muncipial water with reference to the disgusting flavor of the chemicals added to keep it clean. Yet, that's all irrelevent really, because you've missed the point entirely. It's a matter of humor, dear, and you clearly have no sense of it. If this blog isn't to your liking, there's no reason to be crass, for there are thousands more out there in that vast morass we call the Blogosphere. Go be more constructive and find one to your liking.
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
Bryan, thanks for visiting! Yes, Crissier is nowadays a suburb of Lausanne, the city opposite Evian on the Swiss shores of Lake Geneva. You can take a beautiful century-old giant paddlewheel boat and cross to Evian every hour. But it used to be a village and the restaurant is in the beautiful former city hall building. As for Rochat's ducks, they are the very best I've ever had, but I think it unlikely that he would let me document his cooking anytime soon. However in his book 'Flaveurs, there are a couple duck recipes in bigarrade or wine sauces. I confess this is not a dish I'd even trying doing at home because I fear that without numerous trials it would be quite impossible to attain anything like what he turns out at the restaurant. But I'll see what I can do.
  • #26
  • Answered by fx
Donald, this is definitely an ideal dessert for summer, small, self-contained, intense in taste and memorable. Just remember to do it the same day, if you leave it in the freeze for a week it will start to crystallize.
  • #27
  • Answered by fx
Paul, I don't think this sorbet needs anything by way of presentation on top of the shells with the leaves still attached if you can.
  • #28
  • Answered by fx
Gayle in California you'll find many more citrus fruits than we do here in Switzerland, I recommend you try with strong-personality, super-tart citrus fruits for best results. Let me know how this works for you!
  • #29
  • Answered by fx
CJ thanks for your message and don't fear to try this without an ice cream machine, it's really easy to do and you can't go wrong. Just make sure to eat it the same day, which shouldn't be a big problem since it's so good! And use a lot of lemon juice to enhance the bland tangerine taste. Good luck!
  • #30
  • Answered by fx
Luke I think the Sicilians and North Africans would put orange blossom water in their coffee if they could. In Morroco I bought an orange blossom water sprayer used a 100 years ago to sprinkle it on guests are they arrived. In Sicily they use it in many recipes as well, but never nearly as succesfully as in this sorbet!
Oh this looks absolutely delicious! I'll be trying it on Tuesday if I'm lucky. No chance of finding orange blossom water here though, I'll have to do without... any suggestions for a substitute?
  • #32
  • Answered by fx
Jacqui, you don't really need the orange blossom water, but if the tangerines you find are really bland, you might want to substitute them for blood oranges. I added a couple pictures of this made with oranges at the top and bottom of the article. Good luck!
  • #33
  • Comment by CJ
I forgot to ask, but what is the equipment you used to extract the lemon juice and where can I buy one?
  • #34
  • Answered by fx
CJ, you can just squeeze the juice out of the citrus fruits (whichever type you use) like you would do normally, even with a fork. I use a chinois which is a conical sieve you can buy in any professional kitchen equipment shop. Buy a solid one in stainless steel and it'll last you a lifetime.
  • #35
  • Comment by Bob Farace
I made this tonight and love it. For some reason I keep coming back here for sorbetto recipes! Thanks, too, for the reminder: the quality of the water is as important as the quality of any other ingredient. I try to use good quality ingredients, and for water, which is a major component of a recipe like this, the stuff coming out of my kitchen tap just isn't it. Now, maybe someone that would substitute artificial vanilla for the real thing, or margarine for butter wouldn't be bothered by chlorinated/fluorinated water in their frozen dessert, but for the rest of us, the advice to use good quality water is well heeded. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I hear the voice of another one of those little tangerines calling me from the freezer . . .
  • #36
  • Answered by fx
Bob, thanks for your comment and glad it worked for you! In fact you can omit the water altogether unless makine pure lemon sorbet, which might melt your tongue before it even reaches your bowel.
What a fantastic post...the photos are great!  I love the idea of serving the sorbet inside the orange, so beautiful!
  • #38
  • Answered by fx
My Sweet, I hope you get to try this with good quality citrus fruits, it is every bit as good as it looks!
Great dessert!  I am sure I won't find the same quality of citrus fruit here in Quebec but I will make this dessert just the same.  Great post and beautiful picture.  Saw your picture on TasteSpotting!!
Those are very impressive. I am glad I stumbledupon this as I was just thinking of a plated dessert I can make for a Bridal Shower I am hosting. I will serve these sorbets with a chocolate dipped spoon!
  • #41
  • Comment by Simon
This looks terrific fx, I can't wait to try it.  I'll definitely be careful with the orange blossom water as you say - last time I was using some my hand slipped and I put far too much in.  Your desription of the taste when that happens is spot-on!
  • #42
  • Answered by fx
Liliana, thanks for visiting, I am sure you'll end up finding some nice citrus fruit soon to try this sorbet. You are much closer to sunny California than I am!
  • #43
  • Answered by fx
Simon, good luck for your Tangerine Sorbet and do go easy on the Orange Blossom Water or you'll end up with frozen cologne!
Perfect step by step tutorial to a classic treat. Thank you for your entry.
  • #45
  • Answered by fx
Marinette Tartelette, thanks for the visit and your comment!
  • #46
  • Comment by RPO
I have had those at restaurants. And they are absolutely delicious and look great!
  • #47
  • Answered by fx
RPO, now you need to try it at home, much better and so easy to make if you have good tangerines!
  • #48
  • Comment by Lyn
I had something very similar in a Sicilian owned restaurant in San Diego. It was made with a peach. The peach was hollowed out with about 1/3 inch of its outside left intact. Must be a little difficult to remove the pit without damaging the fruit though. Very delicious.
  • #49
  • Answered by fx
Lyn I must try this peach version, we have good peaches here sometimes, must be heavenly!
delicious, looks great. i'll try it.
  • #51
  • Comment by Debbie
I have a question where do I find orange blossom water.  I live in the Ohio area and I can't find it.
  • #52
  • Answered by fx
Debbie, you might want to order Orange Blossom water online, they must have it on Amazon.com, but you could replace it with rose water from a drugstore (check that it is labelled as edible).
  • #53
  • Comment by RPO
I always order that in restaurants. Finally know how to make it! Love the pictures too!
  • #54
  • Comment by Lobo
Hi FX, I'm a huge fan of your site. I tried this recipe with oranges and some fresh strawberries that I also pressed through a chinois. With a little sugar before freezing I used the fork and bowl in the freezer method. I couldnt believe how great they turned out! Thanks for the great site and keep up the great work!
  • #55
  • Answered by fx
Lobo, I'm so glad you managed to try this recipe and it worked for you, it's really nice to know one can prepare sorbet in the middle of winter with a regular freezer! People think it's this very complicated thing, but it's the simplest and most delicious think you can make. And at parties guests are so happy to nurse each one frozen tangerine packed with delicious acidic content!
  • #56
  • Comment by Carrie
I like your candor and honestly regarding the quality of products, water, ect...I plan to look into many more of your recipes. Also the Photos are brilliant, they help a novice like myself immensely...Thank you.
  • #57
  • Answered by fx
Carrie, thank you for your kind comment, I hope to include a video of this recipe in the future, that ought to be even more candid!
  • #58
  • Comment by David
My dear sir, your recipe calls for "..two lemons for every three mandarins .." but your pictures show six mandarins & two lemons. Perhaps you would be kind enough to confirm. Thank you for so many wonderful recipes.
  • FX's answer→ David, the pictures obey the laws of aesthetics, and the recipe those of taste. Follow the words and they will lead you to culinary delight!

  • #60
  • Comment by Andrew
How many tangerines are you using? I see the part where you tell how many per guest but not how many guest you had.
Also I was wondering why you chose to use so little sugar? It seems more like a granita in that respect. You mentioned classical French methods in the use of mineral water and I expected more sugar for a sorbet, to help with softness and crystal size.
The pictures you have look like they have great texture. Just curious.
P.S. the rest of your site has occupied at least 3 hours of my time tonight. :)

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