Orange sherbet has become a tradition in our house on Mother's Day. We all have our own fond memories of eating it from hollowed-out orange peels in Spain, where these treats (and their lemon counterparts) are sold in nearly every restaurant, café, and bar. They're a sweet and sophisticated dessert that we all love, one that's nostalgic but that makes new memories every year.
I can't believe it's May. It seems like just yesterday that I was churning sherbet for these last year. This year has gone by so incredibly fast; with the amount of work our teachers have laid on us, it seems like it's just slipped out from underneath my feet. I can't believe I've survived junior year, with the SATs and the Advanced Placement tests. Speaking of which, I just took my U.S. History AP exam, and I feel like I've been run over by a truck.
Lemme explain AP. It's a bit like medieval torture, but instead of a rack, there's subject tests. You take an AP course all year, and then they sit you down for a two or three hour exam on that subject in May and tell you to prove what you've learned. Guess how many most people take?
Guess how many I'm taking?
I'm done with the Spanish Language and U.S. History tests, and now all I have is English (hah...all I have is English. I'll remember that on testing day and kick myself for saying it). My really funny friends like to joke that the Spanish one didn't really count for me, since I'm, you know, fluent. To them, I like to say that not only did I test for three hours on the course, but I had to complete multiple choice questions on short narratives, multiple choice questions on long narratives, interpersonal writing, a synthesis essay, taped interpersonal speaking, and a taped, formal, oral presentation (prepared on the spot in two minutes!) in that time. So yeah. I'm fluent, but I came out of there feeling as I imagine oranges feel after being squeezed for their juice.
Which reminds me! This post isn't about me, it's about orange sherbet. I'ma break this stuff down for ya. Do you like fluffy, smooth, soft frozen desserts? Do you like things that can be scooped but don't have the cream, egg yolks, and girth-enlarging properties of ice cream (but hey, who's counting calories?! Oh, right, me.)? Do you like sweets that actually taste like the fruit they're made from? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, this is the sherbet for you. I'm actually not usually a sherbet kind of girl; I like my desserts pretty rich, and sherbet always makes me think of the icky, frozen simple syrup stuff that tastes and feels a whole lot like cold sugar water. Which it basically is.
This stuff, however, is the exception. The addition of stiffly beaten egg whites and gelatin makes it delightfully creamy, fluffy, and smooth without overpowering the orange flavor. And it never crosses that line into ice cream territory, as there's not a yolk or a drop of cream in sight.
The sherbet is very soft when it comes out of the ice cream maker, but it firms right up once you fill the orange peels and freeze them. Another great thing about these filled treats is that, as long as you can keep them cold, they're very easy to transport. Just wrap them tightly in aluminum foil before taking them anywhere.
And just because this is my blog and I can, I'm going to tell you that my senioritis has kicked in already. Actually, it kicked in back in April, but now, with testing happening so frequently (SATs! APs! PSSAs! Foresights! Can you tell I'm a little bit jaded!), it's especially pronounced. I feel so entitled now...I walk into class and look at the teacher like, "I just took an AP. I'm done for the day." And then, because I'm a good little girl, I sit down and do whatever assignment we've been given.
What can I say. My mother raised me right.
Happy Mother's Day!
Your Baking Soundtrack For Orange Sherbet:
Glee: The Music, Season 1
I'll say it. I'm a Gleek. This show makes me so ridiculously happy, and the music, besides being a ton of fun, is really well done. The cover of "Proud Mary" done in wheelchairs and the mashup of "Don't Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl" are perfect for dancing around the kitchen, using the spatula as a microphone. Not that I do that.
Orange Sherbet in Orange Peels
When you are juicing the oranges, cut them not at the middle, but near the top, to create a little lid. Don't ring them out; instead, use a small spoon to reach inside the orange, scoop out the flesh, and strain that to get your juice. Gently empty out what remains inside the oranges with a serrated knife and the spoon (as you would with a jack-o-lantern), trying your best not to deform the peels too much. Freeze them until ready to fill.
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites, room temperature
Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water.
Stir together the water and sugar over low heat, just until the sugar dissolves.
Increase the heat and allow to come to a boil without stirring.
Cover and boil for five minutes.
Add the gelatin and stir to combine.
Allow the mixture to cool and add the orange juice, lemon juice, and orange zest.
Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the orange mixture. Make sure that the mixture is cool before adding the whites. Don't worry about getting everything incorporated too much; there will be a layer of juice underneath the whites no matter how much you mix.. The ice cream machine will take care of the rest of the mixing for you.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers' instructions.
When the sherbet is ready, generously fill the frozen peels so that there is some coming out of the top, and top each one with its lid.
If not serving within a day or so, wrap each orange in aluminum foil to store.