Sorbete de Mandarinas y Naranjas con Aceite de Oliva

Mandarin Sorbet With Oranges And Olive Oil

IN AUTUMN THE STREETS OF ANDALUSIA FILL WITH THE SCENT OF AZAHAR. THE MOORS LEFT TO SPAIN NOT ONLY THE CITRUS, BUT THE WHISPERINGLY POETIC WORD TO DESCRIBE BOTH THE ORANGE BLOSSOM AND ITS SEASON. AZAHAR IS THE TIME OF THE YEAR WHEN THE PALE WHITE WAXY FLOWERS ERUPT, FILLING TOWN SQUARES WITH A HEADY SWEET PERFUME. A STROLL ON A WARM NIGHT IN CÓRDOBA OR SEVILLE DURING AZAHAR IS ONE OF THE MOST INTOXICATING EXPERIENCES. FUNNILY ENOUGH, IN SPRING WHEN THE FRUIT IS RIPE, NOBODY EATS THE ORANGES! CONSIDER USING ONLY THE BEST FRUIT FOR THIS DESSERT — BLOOD AND NAVEL ORANGES IN WINTER, OR VALENCIA ORANGES IN SUMMER. MAY I SUGGEST YOU ALSO SEARCH OUT HOJIBLANCA OLIVE OIL AS IT IS FRUITY, AROMATIC AND TRADITIONALLY USED IN DESSERTS IN SPAIN.

Ingredients

  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) sweet extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina or Hojiblanca
  • ½ vanilla bean, halved lengthways
  • 750 g (1 lb 10 oz/ cups) caster (superfine) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, extra, to sprinkle
  • 3 kg (6 lb 12 oz) mandarins
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 oranges, plus the juice of ½ orange
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 3 tangelos

Method

Infuse the olive oil the day before serving. To do this simply pour the olive oil into a glass jar, add the vanilla bean, then seal. Leave to stand overnight in a cool place, but not the refrigerator.

Also on the day before serving, prepare the mandarin sorbet. Place the sugar in a saucepan with 700 ml (24 fl oz) water and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Chill.

Slice the tops off six of the best-shaped mandarins. Carefully remove the segments from inside the cut mandarins (this takes a little skill), then put the skins on a tray and place in the freezer. These will become your serving receptacles for the mandarin sorbet.

Peel the remaining mandarins and juice them in a mechanical juicer along with the segments from the six hollowed-out mandarins. Add the lemon juice, strain, then measure 1.2 litres (42 fl oz) juice. If there is not enough juice from the mandarins, top up with bottled orange juice if necessary. Chill.

Stir 700 ml (24 fl oz) of the chilled sugar syrup into the chilled juice, then pour into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for 5 hours, or overnight.

On the day of serving, make the citrus salad. Using a very sharp knife and reserving all the juices, slice away the tops and bottoms of all the oranges and tangelos. Working from top to bottom, remove the skin and white pith. Cut all the citrus in half widthways and remove the white pith in the centre, then cut the flesh into 1 cm ([k inch) chunks. Place in a bowl with any juices and the extra orange juice, then sprinkle with the extra sugar. Pour the vanilla-infused olive oil over the salad and mix together well.

Fill the frozen mandarin skins with the sorbet and place on chilled plates. Spoon a little citrus salad and juices around the sorbet and serve.