Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sunshine in an Orange Skin

Living in a sunshine country we are totally spoilt with the abundance of fruit grown right here in the Cape. We revel in fruit that actually ripens to full flavour, that is sold by the roadside when in season, so that you can buy boxes of peaches that will all ripen at once sending you into an orgy of fruit salads, pavlovas and smoothies, just to use them up before they self-destruct.

At a time when food prices are rocketing, it has been a joy to me for the last two or three months to buy a huge bag of sweet juicy oranges, 24 in the last bag I counted, for only R8.99 in our supermarket (that’s about $1!). If we could live just on oranges we’d be laughing all the way to the bank!

So we’ve been having oranges segmented like grapefruit and eaten with a spoon for breakfast, then, when that palled, we squeezed the juice and drank it. The best of all has been this orange sorbet recipe, which takes all the goodness and flavour of fresh oranges and stores it in the freezer until it intensifies into a dessert that completely satisfies your taste-buds and which is at its very best with some dark chocolate. I made two huge ice-cream containers full earlier in the season. Unfortunately it went down so well with everyone that they have both all but vanished. My sister-in-law was so horrified at the thought of there being none left for Christmas lunch, that I scooped an extra sack of oranges into my shopping trolley yesterday, to make another big container full; this one labeled with a “Not to be opened before 25th December notice”.

The recipe is very simple, even simpler if you have a machine to squeeze the oranges for you, and doesn’t need anything more doing to it once it’s in the freezer. I made it last year with naartjies (clementines) and served it in their scooped out skins, which was a more fiddly business but looked very pretty.

Orange Sorbet Recipe

20 smallish oranges
juice of half a lemon
100ml/ ½ cup water
icing sugar (if needed to sweeten)

250ml/ 1 cup sugar
150 ml/ 2/3 cup water
juice of ¼ lemon

Make the syrup by heating the syrup ingredients over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and it looks clear. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then leave to cool, while you prepare the rest.

Wash half the oranges well, then grate their zest finely. Squeeze the juice from all of the oranges and the half lemon. Mix in the water and cooled syrup and taste to see if any more sugar is needed. Add water, lemon juice or sugar until you get the right intensity and sweetness, remembering that frozen desserts need a little extra sweetness to bring out the flavour. Freeze until firm.

The sorbet keeps well and is even better a week after making. Hide it at the back of the freezer if you want it to last till Christmas!


  1. Thank you for this recipe. I can't wait to try it! We LOVE fruit in this house so it will be a hit.

  2. Oh that sounds wonderful! Probably not really suitable for Christmas here in England, but certainly suitable for a summer braai! Love the idea of making it with naartjies...

  3. yummy! I'm definitely going to make this :)


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