Inspired by Serious Eats
We are lucky to have a mandarin tree on the grounds and every winter it proffers fruit. The quality of the fruit varies from one season to the next. Every few years the fruit is remarkable and I’m anxious to capture their essence.
In a post to the unique eGullet community, I solicited ideas for how to make the most of what is always a tremendous glut. It is a big old tree and it bears a great mass of vivid orange blobs.
This recipe is an attempt to capture the fruit in sorbet form. I’ve always thought the very sound of ‘mandarin sorbet’ was enticing. It is most likely that you rarely find this item on restaurant menus because it is a summer treat using winter fruit. I don’t care; it tastes so nice that I’m happy to have it in the colder months and it isn’t out of place in the mild climate of Sydney, Australia.
The secret of this sorbet is that there is no secret. It is fruit juice and sugar, with a touch of salt. The only twist is to substitute fructose for standard sucrose (table sugar) which will help to reduce the size of ice crystals when it is frozen.
We were inspired by the Serious Eats pages on sorbet; however, when dealing with mandarins we found it is important to vary the technique in one important way. Blending the fruit flesh to a puree encapsulates too much of the bitter white pith (called albedo). The resulting sorbet contains distinct and unpleasant bitter characteristics. Interestingly, we had removed most of this pith mechanically prior to blending, so the fruit was remarkably clean but, nonetheless, the result was still distinctly bitter.
Any technique of juicing the fruit which will separate the pith is advantageous. Masticating juicers will be effective but may exclude some of the desirable solids. The Kichenaid juicing attachment works surprisingly well. If you want to try a modernist approach, try to dissolve the albedo with Pectinex Ultra SP-L; it may then be possible to then purée the whole flesh (after extracting the seeds, of course). Also, experiment with replacing the (optional) xanthan gum with 3.5 g guar gum.
2 hours 30 minutes total: 30 minutes attended, 2 hours unattended
Store in the freezer for up to one month
1000 g (servings 10 )