Blood oranges were on special in my local market the other day and I got a great deal on some of the particularly colorful Moro variety. The vibrant juice makes a stunning vermillion-colored sorbet. In thinking about what to pair with the blood oranges I remembered the lavender that has been burning a hole in my cupboard for a while so I took the opportunity to use some of it up.
Lemon juice enhances the flavor of the blood oranges, a tad of honey adds another dimension of flavor, and the lavender provides a distinctive floral accent. The sorbet base should be fairly sweet since once it’s frozen the sweetness will be less intense. I suggested a range of sugar to account for differences in the sweetness of the fruit. Taste it as you go and adjust the sugar accordingly. Adding vodka keeps the sorbet from becoming too icy and hard but it can be left out. Be sure to take the sorbet out of the freezer a few minutes before you plan to serve it so it will be easier to scoop.
Blood orange and lavender sorbet
makes about 4 1/2 cups (a bit more than 1 liter)
zest of two blood oranges
4 cups (1 liter) blood orange juice – from about 4 1/2 pounds (2kg) blood oranges
1 – 1 1/2 cups (200-300g) sugar
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
1 tablespoon vodka
1. Zest two of the blood oranges directly into a small, non-reactive saucepan.
2. Roll the blood oranges and lemon on the counter firmly with your palm to break down the juice sacs and make it easier to extract more juice. If you have a juicer or a juicer attachment for your food processor this is the time to use it. Continue juicing the oranges until you have 4 cups (1 liter) of juice. Add the lemon juice to the blood orange juice.
3. Put 1/2 cup (120ml) of juice in the pan with the blood orange zest. Add the sugar and honey. Heat, stirring well, over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mix has come to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the lavender. Cover the pan and let steep for 30 minutes.
4. Strain the steeped mix back into the reserved juice. Discard the zest and lavender flowers. Taste the sorbet base to ensure it is sweet enough before continuing. If you need to add more sugar, take another 1/2 cup (120ml) of the sorbet base, add sugar accordingly, and reheat it in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Once you have the level of sweetness you prefer, add the vodka and continue with the recipe.
5. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Place the sorbet in a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 4 hours before serving.
related posts: black currant sorbet (svartvinbärsorbet)