This Christmas holiday I made Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Sorbet. Why make a sorbet in the middle of winter? Because this is when the Meyer lemons on the fruit tree in my backyard ripen. And a tart citrus sorbet is good any of time of the year. This icy sorbet is just the right ending to a rich meal, it cleans the palate. Since it is fat free it doesn’t fill you up. The sprig of rosemary and a bit of lime juice add another dimension to this sorbet. I think I have found just the right blend of sweetness and fruit flavors.
I had a few precious Meyer lemons this year on the tree growing in my garden. A late spring frost nipped most of the buds; so I patiently watched a few which survived grow all summer. Now I want to make something really lemony and satisfying with the ripe lemons. I think a tart lemon sorbet is just the recipe. To spark it up I added fresh rosemary sprigs and a touch of lime juice. And I added Chardonnay wine to one batch!
It’s Christmas evening in Louisiana; every one adapts the holidays to where they are living. I’m sure if Santa was real, that he would come to our part of the country with alligators rather than reindeer. And so I’m using Meyer lemons in the winter time!
I became interested in making sorbets several years ago when I worked as a food editor for a now defunct gourmet food mail order catalog. The magazine editor wanted a sorbet recipe to sell their ice cream maker. I tested all kinds of sorbets (and ice cream makers) and a watermelon sorbet eventually was featured. I personally liked a blood orange chardonnay wine sorbet, that one didn’t make the magazine. This assignment started my interest in sorbets, I’m always on the lookout for new flavor ideas and combinations.
Meyer lemons are very large, round lemons with yellow flesh about the size of a navel orange. They are a cross between true lemon and a mandarin orange and were brought to this country from China in 1908 by Agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer. When cooking, you don’t need as many Meyer lemons are typical lemons. It took 3 Meyer lemons to make one cup of juice; about 8 regular lemons are needed. My lemons are very tart; although most internet websites and literature say they are sweeter than ordinary lemons.
I used my trusty Cuisinart ice cream maker to churn the sorbet. It works well for small batches. Sorbet it is best consumed the day it is made, so a small batch is perfect. I leave the Cuisinart ice cream bowl in the freezer between batches, so it’s ready to go the next time I am preparing ice creams. And this ice cream maker doesn’t use ice or rock salt; just plug it in and start.
The sorbet starts with a sugar and water syrup which is boiled on the stove to dissolve and concentrate the sugar. I seeped a rosemary sprig in the syrup to add another flavor. Then the lemon juice and a bit of lime juice is added; this is chilled in the refrigerator — then churned. After churning it is still very soft, set the sorbet in the freezer for an hour or two to freeze further. The sorbet is best used the same day it is churned as it tends to get very hard. If you wish, substitute a cup of Chardonnay wine for the second cup of water, this variation really popped.
Meyer Lemon and Rosemary Sorbet
- 3 large Meyer lemons (or about 8 regular lemons) to make 1 cup juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, additional sprigs for garnish
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 additional cup water or 1 cup Chardonnay wine
Method and Steps
- Juice the Meyer lemons to make 1 cup juice, strain off seeds and pulp. Set aside.
- In small heavy pot, heat 1 cup water water, sugar and rosemary sprig over medium high heat. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar. Cook for several minutes to concentrate sugar.
- Remove from stove, strain off rosemary sprig and transfer syrup to medium bowl. Add the lemon juice and lime juice and stir. Set bowl over a large bowl of ice water to chill or set in refrigerator for several hours to chill.
- When ready to churn, add 1 additional cup of cold water or 1 cup Chardonnay wine. Process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- After processing, set in sorbet in freezer for another hour or so to temper.
- Best when served the same day. Garnish individual bowls with fresh rosemary sprigs.
It’s Christmas Evening, another year is passing by quickly. I’ve enjoyed writing this blog, hope you have enjoyed the recipes and stories!