The unprecedented heatwave here in the U.S. is probably still the most talked-about topic lately. Barely an inch or two of the map hasn’t been covered already with the scorching colors of burnt orange and blazing red. To those whose areas are still bathed in soothing blue, we’re all coming to your houses. See you soon! I promise I’m quiet (though not, er, the neatest) and, well, maybe you could enjoy some of this, too, despite not needing the relief.
The more things heat up around here, the more I’m ready for Fall. In the deep Southern states, that means temperatures that barely dip under upper 70s, sometimes climbing to the mid 80s. With a lot less humidity. You know, something civilized. I’ve been eying my baking cookbooks, thinking of pies and stews and seasonal holiday cookies and just about everything my family loves that involves prolonged oven usage. Yep, after I vowed a few weeks ago not to be committing to such madness. I even baked blueberry muffins the other day. I’ve got it bad!
So we decided to make sorbet. Because Summer isn’t over yet, and won’t be for some time now. But you know what? You can have a little bit of Fall in your sorbet.
There really isn’t all that much to sorbet. It starts off its life as a syrup, basically. This one is filled with spicy goodness that reminded me of the flavors I love about Fall: cloves, a little cardamom, orange, ginger and honey.
Look, there’s even some bay leaf. It all comes together to make a very fragrant, delightful simple syrup that is anything but simple to the tastebuds.
If you don’t have one of those small countertop ice cream churns, no worries, you can just pour the syrup mixture into a freezer-safe metal or glass dish, stirring the sorbet every hour or so for about six hours. The ice cream just helps get that freezing time going quicker and therefore a little shorter.
When the churning part is done, work quickly to get it into your pan. The partially frozen mixture will begin to melt quickly, especially if you’re making it during our Hot HOT Summer.
This one instantly reminded me of Fall, hidden beneath a bright, sunny color. Talk about refreshing; what better way to feel so than with a cooling, spiced treat like this.
Spiced Orange & Honey Sorbet
Adapted slightly from Bon Appétit, January 2008 by Michael Psilakis
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook time: 12 minutes (plus additional churn/chill time) Level: Easy Makes: 4 Cups
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup clover honey
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
- 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 2 whole star anise or cardamom pods
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 small bay leaf, preferably fresh
- 2 cups chilled fresh orange juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is thick and mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 12 minutes. Discard bay leaf; cool syrup (speed this part up if desired by using an ice bath: place the syrup bowl in a larger one pre-filled with ice and water; stir syrup occasionally to help the cooling along).
Strain syrup into medium bowl. Add orange juice and lemon juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to container, cover, and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.
If you don’t have an ice cream churner, place the mixture in your freezer-safe metal or glass dish and stir every hour or so, for about 6 hours or until firm.
Can’t find star anise or cardamom pods? Take the seat next to ours, we couldn’t either. We substituted about 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cardamom, and we think this worked out fine.
Other possible good substitutes if you don’t want to use star anise or the cardamom: cinnamon sticks. Place one ot two in the simple syrup step and then discard it before processing in the churner or freezing.
A note on the texture: ginger, when grated, can still have a stringy-like texture, and since we used ground cardamom, I did wonder if the texture of this one would bother some. There’s also a little pulp from the freshly-squeezed orange juice. It seems to be a divided camp with some liking these kinds of textures in their sorbet, some not. We strained the pulp out of the juice before adding it, but not the rest of the syrup. If you’re the type that prefers to have little to no texture in their sorbet, I would definitely strain the entire mixture before churning/freezing.
Some reviews for this recipe over at Epicurious stated that the syrup should be well-chilled before churning to achieve a smoother sorbet. We didn’t chill ours for very long at all, so can’t comment for sure on this advice, but if anyone does chill their syrup for a while, please let us know how it turned out. Ours wasn’t terribly icy, but neither was it smooth or approaching creamy at all, not like sorbet I’ve bought in the store.