Tangerine and blood orange sorbet is a simple and beautiful homemade citrus dessert you can make with or without an ice cream maker.
It’s a beautiful thing when blood oranges appear in the market, bringing their spectacular color and flavor to the middle of winter.
Then I start to look for all the tangerine recipes, orange sorbets and everything in between.
Blood orange recipes
I love to use blood oranges in cocktails — their juice turns everything the magical hue of a tequila sunrise.
The juice is also gorgeous in cake glazes and non-alcoholic drinks.
But, out of all the dessert recipes, I think homemade blood orange sorbet tops the list in simplicity.
The brief amount of ingredients in a sorbet (juice + sugar, basically) means the focus is all on the their interestingly complex flavor, which reminds me of raspberries and exotic tropical fruits.
This blood orange sorbet shares the spotlight with tangerines, another fall-winter citrus with intense sweet-tart flavor.
Tangerine juice helps balance the sweetness and acidity of straight blood orange juice, which can veer to the sour side.
It’s great to have an ice cream maker to churn up all kinds of frozen treats with seasonal fruit.
But for years I’ve gone without one — after the last time we moved, I unpacked my old Cuisinart canister and it looked like it had been hit at high speed by an 18-wheeler.
Even though I’m trying to reduce kitchen clutter and live more simply, I finally broke down recently and bought this Kitchen Aid one to replace it.
It works like a charm!
And since the bowl can live in the freezer, it’s not taking up precious space somewhere else.
However, you don’t have to go out and buy a machine to make sorbet. It’s easy to make frozen desserts like sorbets and granitas without one.
How to make sorbet without an ice cream maker:
- Choose a shallow (less than 1-inch deep) metal pan and freeze it for at least an hour before making the recipe.
- Follow the recipe to make the fruit syrup base.
- Pour the chilled base into the pan, cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze.
- Scrape the mixture with a fork, moving the sorbet from the edge to the center, every 30 minutes or so to break down the ice crystals.
What’s the difference between sorbet and granita?
The two sweets are pretty much the same:
- A granita is a frozen dessert made of fruit juice and sugar. The name refers to its icy texture, which can resemble shards of granite rock.
- A sorbet is typically made with the same ingredients as a granita — fruit juice and sugar syrup — but the mixture is churned rather than simply frozen in a container.
Tips for making perfect sorbet:
- Before starting, chill both the sorbet mixture (and the pan if not using an ice cream maker) to speed freezing.
- Alcohol is optional, but it helps soften the texture and smooth any icy grains while the sorbet freezes. Keep in mind that the sorbet will melt faster when you serve it, though.
- Store sorbet in a covered plastic or metal container up to 3 days.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup fresh tangerine juice (from about 6 tangerines, depending on size)
- 1 cup fresh blood orange juice (from about 6 oranges depending on size)
- 1 tablespoon clear neutral spirit, such as vodka or gin (optional)
- Combine the sugar, salt and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the juices and the vodka.
- Strain into a bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator until cold.
- Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the directions that came with your model.
- Transfer the sorbet to a lidded shallow freezer container (plastic or metal are best). Cover the sorbet with a piece of plastic wrap, then cover and freeze 2 or 3 hours before serving.
The sorbet is best enjoyed up to 3 days after churning.