As I was in the process of preparing this dessert recipe, visions of my misadventure with tortellini danced in my head.
Yes, tortellini. When I prepared tortellini last year, it was my first experience with making pasta from scratch and also my first experience with a pasta machine. The final result was so disastrous that I had to do it again so I wouldn't completely embarrass myself with my fellow conspirators.
This recipe calls for preparing a sorbet from scratch using an ice cream maker. I didn't have an ice cream maker and spent several months asking every casual acquaintance if I could borrow one. No luck; nobody had one. I even thought of buying one, but whereas a pasta maker was quite reasonably priced, an ice cream maker was double the cost. And, while I reasoned that a pasta maker would likely be used occasionally, I didn't figure that I would wear out an ice cream maker. I even considered trying to swap recipes with another day of the week (I am fondly known as "Wednesday" among the PeV crowd), but I was reluctant to do that.
I finally located a source for the ice cream machine - a childhood friend who I am sure is amused that I am taking part in this project.
Below are all the ingredients, sans one. Present are the sugar, tangerines, lemon, orange, egg and rum, along with the elusive ice cream maker. Absent are the sprigs of mint used as a garnish atop the final product.
The first step involves slicing off the tops of the tangerines and extracting the fruit, using your fingers according to Marcella's directions, while being careful not to tear the fragile tangerine rind. I was somewhat skeptical that my fingers could do the job without wreaking havoc with the rind. Everything worked out fine. I was a bit tentative at first, but my extraction technique improved quickly. The shells and tops are then frozen for at least 2 hours.
The next stage involves making the sorbet. A syrup is prepared of sugar, water, lemon and orange peel, and tangerine, orange and lemon juice. After the syrup has completely cooled, a lightly beaten egg white is mixed in and everything is put into the ice cream maker. Follow the directions.
The final result below, after some rum has been added to the sorbet, the mixture frozen and spooned into the frozen tangerine shells. The mint leaves are a bit limp. Fresh mint was not available from my garden in April when I first prepared this recipe - so I had to buy some at the store, NOT my preferred source. Also, Marcella indicates that the filling should extend to just over the rim, but I was a bit light in the volume of the sorbet. The list of ingredients calls for 6 large or 8 small tangerines; my 8 tangerines were pretty big. Next time I'll increase the amount of the ingredients to account for this. It's just as easy to fill 8 large tangerines as 8 small ones.
What I liked about this recipe:
Using an ice cream maker was a novel experience and the result was excellent in both appearance and taste. Well worth the effort.
What didn't I like about this recipe:
Well, it took a long time - several hours from start to finish.
Will I make it again?
Yes. Actually, I already have made it a couple more times already, to universal acclaim. This is an impressive dessert to serve to friends and family. However, I now prepare it a day ahead of time, since it is quite time-consuming.
This is one of the best and most rewarding recipes I have prepared for this project, right up there with the Diplomatico chocolate dessert from a few weeks ago. Very highly recommended.