Recently, I attended the Fine Food Australia Trade Fair at the Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre. I got chatting to the exhibitors, naturally, and got to know the fabulous people at Red Belly Citrus, who produce blood oranges that are the gorgeous colour of red wine.
Blood oranges, if you’ve never had them, taste to me like a more tart orange, but not quite as astringent as a grapefruit. Curiously addictive, this fruit is fantastic as a refresher and as a palate cleanser. I was very lucky to score a 2L bottle of juice from Red Belly Citrus, and managed to stop myself from polishing off the bottle for long enough to make some sorbet!
There are only a couple of principles to follow in sorbet:
- Too much sugar, and your sorbet won’t freeze and become just an ice slushy. Sugar prevents ice crystals from forming, and it helps keep your sorbet soft. Now large ice crystals = crunchy, small ice crystals = smooth, not enough ice crystals = drink.
- Too little sugar, and your sorbet will freeze too hard and become crunchy like a granita
- If you’re using alcohol, don’t use too much of it or you’ll get the slushy thing happening again.
- For every cup of liquid, you’re using a quarter of a cup of sugar. I was lucky to get blood orange juice, pulp and all, so that ratio works. Of course, if you’re using a fruit drink instead of a fruit juice – meaning that there is already added sugar – then you’d have to adjust and lessen the amount of sugar used.
But really, with summer round the corner, there shouldn’t be any issue getting the fresh stuff.
I dissolved the sugar over low heat in half the juice, then added the rest and made sure that the mixture was thoroughly chilled. Why chill it first? Well when the mixture freezes quickly, it doesn’t give large ice crystals the opportunity to form. Which means a smooth sorbet.
Then churn the mixture according to your ice cream machine instructions, and add just a touch of vodka or other liqueur at the end if you really want to. I used 2 teaspoons of vodka for 750ml of liquid. It’s not for flavour, more for those above-mentioend reasons.
Then top with your favourite garnishes – I used pomegranate seeds and mint from the garden – and serve! I put mine in shot glasses because I was doing canapés, but hey, eat it out of the tub if you want to. I do. =)