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Spiced Meyer Lemon Sorbet
My mother spent this past Christmas in New Jersey for the first time in three years. There was a lot of laughing, recounting of old family jokes, and an endless supply of opportunities to watch the woman who taught me how to cook. This year, along with her motherly wit and inspiration, she arrived at my house on Christmas Eve bearing gifts, and not the typical ones. As she’s unloading presents to put under the tree, in a Mary Poppinsesque move, she reaches deep into the bag on her shoulder and starts digging. Eventually, one by one, she starts pulling out Meyer lemons, and handing them to me. These were almost the size of oranges and barely fit in my hands, but the smooth skin and sweet aroma quickly filled my kitchen.
Christmas wound down, we rang in a new year, and then it snowed. A lot. So, naturally I did what any good mother does and I sent my kids outside to play in the snow and set out to use my lemons before it was too late. A perusal through the Internet and my own cooking sources led me to an article in the LA Times for 100 Things to do with a Meyer Lemon which I definitely need to come back to since it is Meyer lemon season and Fairway has them. But, short on time, and growing impatient, I needed something fast and easy as I didn’t want to use all of my lemons in one place. I settled on sorbet, and modeled my recipe from an old Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Lemon or Lime Sorbet. Of course, I couldn’t leave the original recipe alone, so two zests and some cinnamon later, I had something fresh, citrusy and different from the Salted caramel and Meyer lemon ice cream I made last year.
If you have an ice cream maker, have an inkling to try Meyer lemons, and have never made sorbet before, try this. The final amount is small, only about 3 cups, and my kids really loved it. The flavor adds a little brightness to our dark winter days.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. grated Meyer lemon zest
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
Place sugar, zests, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until combined, about 18-20 pulses.
While food processor is running, pour water and lemon juice through the feed tube at the top and continue processing until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
Run liquid through a strainer and place in large glass bowl. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, until completely chilled.
Process in freezer bowl of ice cream maker until frozen, about 20-25 minutes.
Transfer to plastic container and freeze until completely solid.
Notes from my experience:
This was the first time I had tried sorbet, and I was not disappointed. It was so easy and quick that I foresee many more sorbet options once fresh fruit comes in season this summer.
What I really loved is what a little added spice does to this recipe. Many of the sorbets in the grocery store are just fruit flavors. By adding a little cinnamon, it changed the whole flavor and makes this sorbet different from anything you can find on a shelf.
The liquid level on my food processor got a little high, so be careful to watch for spillage in the final stage of mixing.
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