It's a blessing that, in the middle of the dullest part of winter (no more holidays! boo!), citrus fruits are fresh and plentiful. Here's a wonderfully easy recipe you can make to celebrate this bounty and remind you that sunny days are ahead. (The recipe is at the end of this post.)
Grab some citrus fruits--lemons, limes, tangerines, oranges, or grapefruit--or any combination of these. (You'll need the equivalent of about 4 or 5 lemons' worth.) For this recipe, I used lemons and tangerines.
Bring equal amounts of water and sugar* to a boil on the stove. Remove from the heat and cool (I put the pot in the fridge while going on to the next step.)
Next, grate the rind off the citrus:
Yummy! Fresh citrus zest smells so upbeat. Especially in the middle of winter.
Next, cut the fruits in half and juice them (I use an old-fashioned glass reamer for the job):
Strain the juice through a sieve, stirring gently with a spoon to help move the pulp aside.
Add the zest to the juice:
Give it a stir:
Pour the juice/zest mixture into the cooled sugar water:
Give it a stir again, then turn it into a flat glass baking dish. (Make sure you pick one that fits in your freezer!):
Put the dish in the freezer, and stir up the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes or so to distribute the ice crystals as they form.
In a couple of hours, you will have a beautiful, frozen dessert that is bursting with flavor. (Sorry I forgot to photograph mine before it was devoured by eager guests!) Heap into wine glasses, champagne flutes, or small ramekins and serve immediately.
Original recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2003
1 cup water
1 cup sugar*
1 cup fresh citrus juice (about 4 or 5 lemons, for instance)
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon zest
Bring the water and sugar to boil in a small saucepan, remove from the heat, and cool. Stir the juice and zest together. Combine the syrup with the juice/zest mixture; pour into a shallow baking dish (8"x8" or larger). As the mixture freezes, stir it up with a fork every half hour or so until it is entirely crystalline (this might take 3 hours or so).
Store leftovers in a lidded plastic container in the freezer.
*If you don't use any lemons, decrease the sugar by a bit to keep the sorbet from being overly sweet.