Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tangelo-red pepper sherbet

I am having an "iron chef" party tomorrow night to celebrate the end of the semester and the end of qualifying exams for the first- and second-years. The theme ingredient this time is peppers. Yesterday I did a test run on the recipe I'm making for the party, a tangelo-red pepper sherbet. I saw a recipe for tangerine sherbet on a NY Times "Tiny Kitchen" video, and while I was brainstorming things to make for the party, I remembered it and thought that tangerine would pair well with red bell pepper. The grocery store didn't have tangerines, but I usually get tangelos anyway, so I went with those. We went the fresh-squeezed route, but the results would probably be fine with regular juice, even just orange juice or an orange-tangerine blend. I used gelatin. I know that it isn't vegetarian, but I've had it in my pantry for a long time, and I wanted to see if it helped with stabilization. It didn't really seem any different from other frozen desserts I have made, so I don't think I will use it next time.

I decided to "roast" my peppers in the microwave following a suggestion of Barbara Kafka in Vegetable Love. I wasn't too fussy about peeling them, and although the peel was definitely noticeable in the final product, it was not objectionable. The microwave technique worked, but I might do them in the oven next time since I'll have a lot more peppers, and microwaving plastic wrap for that long seems a little foolish.

I actually own three ice cream makers of various types right now. How excessive. They were all given to me by relatives who don't use them much. I made this one in a little ice cream maker with a canister you freeze for several hours. It's Donvier brand, probably bought by my grandmother in 1973. It doesn't freeze things very solid for me, but it's convenient, and I just wanted a small batch. It makes about a pint at a time. Tonight I am going to make the "real" batch for the party using my more traditional Waring ice cream maker that makes about 1 1/2 quarts and uses ice and salt. It will probably freeze a little better. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you should borrow one of mine or freeze it in a metal pan and scrape it with a fork every once in a while. After it's frozen, you can whirl it in a food processor to incorporate some air.

Jon and I both really enjoyed this, so it's not just my crazy hippie tendencies talking. Or maybe we're both crazy hippies. I decreased the sugar slightly from the tangerine sorbet recipe, and I liked it. It would probably even make a good palate cleanser between courses of a fancy dinner if I were the kind of person who made fancy dinners that required palate cleansers. Jon suggested maybe adding some lemon juice the next time for a bigger citrus presence, but I don't think I will. The success of this idea has led me to brainstorm a lot of other slightly odd sherbet, sorbet, and ice cream flavors, and now that I have the little ice cream maker out and remember how easy it is to use, you might see some more weird ice cream creations on here.

Tangelo-red pepper sherbet (inspired by "Tiny Kitchens" from the NY Times):
1/2 tsp gelatin
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 large red bell peppers
3/4 cup tangelo juice (about 3 tangelos for us)
zest of 2 tangelos
3/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle the gelatin in the water in a small saucepan. Leave it alone for a while as you prepare the red peppers. Cut out the cores, remove seeds and white stuff, and cut into large pieces. Remove whatever peel is convenient to remove, more if you don't want peel in your sherbet. Put all the pieces on a large plate or bowl, cover tightly (I used plastic wrap, but I don't know if I should be advising others to put plastic in the microwave for long periods of time), and microwave for three minutes. Maybe add another minute for good measure if they don't seem roasted enough to you. Transfer the peppers to a food processor and process until quite smooth. You should end up with about 3/4 cups red pepper puree, but the volume isn't that important.

Now go back to the saucepan with the water and gelatin in it. Put some low heat under it and stir it gently until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the tangelo juice, zest, red pepper, and sugar and stir until blended. Remove from heat and transfer to refrigerator until cold. Combine this with the cream, which should also be cold, and freeze in whatever way you normally freeze ice cream. This recipe makes about a pint. If you have a large ice cream maker, you should probably double it.

**Update, 05/07/09**
In case you were curious, here is the recipe I ended up making for the party. It makes about 1 1/2 quarts of sherbet and got good reviews.

2 1/4 cups tangelo juice (from 11 tangelos)
zest of 4 tangelos
4 large red bell peppers
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cream

Get Jon to juice the tangelos. It takes a while. Meanwhile, broil the red peppers, turning often, until they are soft and a good amount of the peel has turned black. Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap until the peppers are cool enough to handle. (You can help Jon juice and zest the tangelos while you're waiting.) When the peppers are cool, peel them and puree them until quite smooth. Combine juice, zest, pepper puree, and sugar in a large bowl and chill. When it is cold, add the cream and process according to ice cream maker instructions. It's nice if you can freeze it for at least an hour afterward to get it to harden up.

1 comment:

Jon said...

You should also mention the awesome mint ice cream you made.