Thursday, October 15, 2009

blood orange sorbet…a taste of the autumn air

"And the sunlight crawls around you,
And draws a fable that we fell through,
Pomegranate rain on my tongue,
Under the blood orange sun…”

I love citrus, and Blood Oranges are my all-time favorite. Their rich flavor and deep red color proclaim autumn more than any other citrus.

Blood oranges contain a pigment called anthocyanin, which is not typically found in citrus but rather more common in other red fruits like cranberries and pomegranates. Not only is the inside of the orange darkly pigmented but depending on the variety, the outside of their orange skins may also have lovely painterly washes of deep ruby red.

The three main blood orange varieties are Tarocco, the Moro and the Sanguigno.
The Moro, a recent addition to the blood orange family, is the most colorful of the three types, with a deep purple flesh and reddish orange rind. The flavor is stronger and the aroma is more intense than a normal orange. This fruit has a distinct, sweet flavor with a hint of raspberry particular to blood oranges.

The Moro variety is believed to have originated at the beginning of the 19th century in the citrus-growing area around Lentini. Moro Blood Oranges are full-blood oranges, meaning that their flesh ranges from orange-veined ruby colors from crimson and to vermillion. The thick orange-colored peel has a medium fine grain with spots, splashes or red wine veins. The Moro Blood Orange is now grown in the USA in San Diego, California.

Rungis Market outside Paris

I just found a new International Market in my area that has a produce section that rivals any Whole Foods (at much less than half the price). The square-footage of the produce section alone is larger than the total of most mega-mart stores. The huge selection and the artful arrangement of the fruits and vegetables feels like a cross between a visit to a perfect Parisian Marché and the huge wholesale market of Rungis in the suburb just outside of Paris.
I will share more about this new favorite market in an upcoming post.

I knew that the San Diego Crop of the Moro Blood Orange was just coming into season this month. When I was browsing at my “new-to-me-market”, I came across perfectly piled mounds of stunning Blood Oranges. They called to me with their lovely impressionistic coats of many colors and delicious aromas that was as much berry as it was orange. I bought many pounds of this delicious fruit and have been eating and experimenting with this fruit ever since. Here is the first of my recipes.

Blood Orange Sorbet


¼ cup Sugar or ¼-cup Agave Nectar

1½ cups water

1 cup freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice

1 tbsp Blood Orange Zest

a pinch of Kosher Salt

a tiny pinch of Cinnamon

¼ cup of a sweet, fruity white wine


Make a simple sugar combining the water and sugar into a saucepan.
Place on medium heat stir until the mix starts to bubble slightly.
Lower the heat and stir until the mixture becomes clear.
Then the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat.

Add the Agave Nectar a little at a time and taste.

You can add a little more later, when the mixture is in the ice cream machine.
Add the Blood Orange zest, a pinch of salt, a pinch of Cinnamon and the wine and stir to combine. Incorporate the Blood Orange juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove the citrus pulp and any seeds. Stir the mixture and gently heat through.

Pour into a covered container and cool this mixture for at least two hours in the refrigerator.Chilling the mixture overnight is better.

Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the directions for your particular model. For my Cuisinart ICE-20, I let it mix for 25-30 minutes.

I had been experimenting with fruit and chocolate sorbets over this past summer, trying to get the perfect balance of the alcohols and sugars that makes the sorbet smooth that does not freeze and the liquid sweetener (Agave) that does.

This recipe is a result of many trials and errors, but as Julia Child was so fond of telling us, ”The grand thing about cooking is you can eat your mistakes”. I have many neighbors that are great fans of eating my mistakes.

The resulting product of this Blood Orange sorbet recipe is a sorbet that is full of orange-berry fruit flavor, not too tart.
Sweet, but with some depth of flavor after it freezes overnight.
It has a lovely smooth mouth feel that is not your mega-mart sorbet…


It was smoooooth…and creamy and yummy and was like the cool autumn air on my tongue.

You will love this sorbet.

Just a note…that the riper the Blood Oranges, the deeper the color of the final sorbet. The interior of the Blood Oranges will be a richer burgundy when ripe. However I found that the flavor of the final sorbet was equally rich, mellow and smooth regardless of the color of the sorbet. I just liked that the burgundy color makes the sorbet taste a bit more like autumn. Totally a trick of the mind-tastebud connection, I am sure.

I paired this fruity sorbet with a scoop of my homemade Vanilla-Cinnamon ice cream over a square of gluten-free apple crisp…
eaten with an antique silver spoon of course…perfection.

Bon appètit…!


Camera Crazy said...

So beautiful--love the basket in the front yard; it looks like a beautiful neighborhood. I've only made sorbet once and now that I have given up my second freezer I don't even have room to freeze it but I loved seeing your mouth watering creation.

Heather said...

i love blood oranges! can't wait to go grab some from the store :)

jeanette mistress of longears said...

Having tried and loved your lime sorbet, I can't wait to try this one!

sue said...

Mmmmmm! That sounds delicious. I do love blood oranges. I have a friend who made a blood orange jam that was sooo good on English muffins. Sorbet sounds wonderful!

Peter said...

Drinking a litre of prepressed blood oranges every day, I guess that you must consider me a fan? Of course I should use fresh oranges, but ... Your photos make them look so appetizing! I'm convinced that your sorbet must be just the perfect dessert!