Sizzling hot summer days whirl you out of the kitchen to cool places, beaches, pools, rivers and lakes. Food gets simple and moves away from the kitchen to an outside barbeque, as the kitchen stove gets too hot to handle. Sometimes however, you do feel the urge to make something delicious and beautiful for dessert. This citrus sorbet recipe served in the hollowed out peels of the orange, mandarin or lemon is the perfect thing to make for a summer celebration. The bright colours of the skins look cheerful, the sorbet is fragrant and refreshing. You can do all the work ahead of time and they can sit in the freezer happily until you need them. Choose whatever fruit is available – mandarins, tangerines or clementines are all delicious, oranges work very well and lemons can be done the same way, just by adding rather more sugar to taste.
Jane Grigson calls these mandarines givrées and apparently they were all the rage at dinner parties in the late Seventies.
Recipe for Tangerine Ice
20 small tangerines (or 10 oranges)
juice of half a lemon
100ml/ 3floz/ ½ cup water
250g/8oz/1 cup sugar
150 ml/5 fl oz/2/3 cup water
juice of ¼ lemon
Make the syrup by heating the three ingredients over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool.
Grate the zest from half the tangerines or oranges and squeeze the juice. Cut the remaining fruit, horizontally near the top, so they each have a lid. Scoop out the flesh with a small spoon and press out the juice (I used a sieve to do this). The skins must be left in good shape, but as long as they aren’t holed you can stuff them back into roundness with the sorbet. You should end up with about 3 cups of juice altogether.
Add the grated zest, lemon juice and water to the juice, then taste to see if you need any of the icing sugar. If you over sweeten, you can add a bit more lemon juice to sharpen the flavour again. Remember that frozen ices need more sugar to bring across the flavour than when they are at room temperature, so go for the sweeter end of your taste range when adding sugar. Freeze this in a plastic container. I usually take it out after a couple of hours to beat it with a fork, then freeze again until it is firm.
Scoop all the leftover pulp from the shells so they are clean inside. Chill them and when the sorbet has set quite firm, (but before it is rock hard) beat it again and scoop it into each shell, packing it down quite firmly. Replace the lids, wrap the whole fruit in cling film and freeze again until needed.
I made these for a dinner party and served a rich and intense chocolate cake alongside them. The combination of flavours was stunning, the perfect finish for an elegant meal. Children love these sorbets too though, so if you can find small clementines make plenty of small sorbets and bring them out for a family lunch.