Sunday, December 13, 2009
Meyer Lemon Sorbet in Lemon Cups
The citrus crop is coming on strong now at the Farmer’s Market. We now have our pick of tangerines, oranges, pomelos, grapefruit, and lemons. Stacy and I bought our first pomelo and fifteen more Meyer lemons during our outing to the market Saturday. The market traffic was light this week as folks were driven away by the heavy rains and cold winds. Despite the bad weather, we shopped for a luncheon I am cooking for Stacy and her group at work. In addition to the citrus, I bought fingerling potatoes, cauliflower, and placed an order for hanger steaks that will be ingredients in the six-course I plan to prepare and serve to the party of twelve this coming Wednesday.
I included a palette cleanser course between the cauliflower soufflé course and the grilled hanger steak with sea salt crusted roast fingerling potatoes entrée course. The palette cleanser is Meyer lemon sorbet in lemon cups. I made the sorbet from the fifteen Meyer lemons yesterday and it tastes incredible. The presentation of the sorbet will be in cups made from the shells of the lemons. There are several citrus dishes I serve that use the colorful shell as the cup which makes a charming statement on the plate. To remove any citrus from the shell, cut off the top 1/3 of the fruit and reserve the top to use as the “cap”. Then use a grapefruit spoon or small teaspoon to remove the pulp. This neat trick is accomplished by gently working the spoon between the pith and the pulp in a circular motion around the shell being very careful not to puncture the shell. Usually the pulp will release all except for the bloom end at the bottom. To finish the removal, gently hook the spoon under the pulp and pull from the shell. If some strings are left in the bottom of the shell, use a kitchen shear or paring knife to extract. Then cut a small flat spot on the bottom so the fruit will stand on a plate. Be careful not to open a hole in the bottom of the shell when making this cut. Now you have a shell cup and cap to use as the vessel to serve the dish you make from the pulp. Sometimes I will cut a design in the top lip of the cup for large fruits like oranges. The cup will also resist oven temps for a dessert prep that has cold filling in the cup and a piped meringue on top, sort of like a baked Alaska.
Here’s the recipe for the sorbet.
Lemon Sorbet in Lemon Cups For 8
12 lemons - You'll need one lemon per person plus a few to cut zest from. Make sure the bloom end (not the stem end) has a nice shaped "bump" and try to purchase uniform lemons.
Cut off the top 1/3 of the lemon (stem end) and reserve for the "cap." Hollow out each lemon by using a grapefruit spoon gently working just inside the rind and circling the flesh while being careful not to puncture the lemon. Remove juice and flesh and put it in your juicer. Make a slight shallow cut on the bottom of each lemon shells while being careful not to cut through to the inside of the lemon) This will allow them to sit upright on a plate without falling over.
Freeze the shells at least one hour or overnight. Then fill with sorbet for service. The frozen shell will help keep the sorbet frozen.
1/3 cup lemon zest cut from the extra lemons
1 cup strained fresh-squeezed lemon juice - from lemons used for cups and extra lemons
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vodka (keeps the sorbet from freezing solid)
1 1/2 cups water
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Add lemon zest. Stir until mixture comes to a boil; boil 2 minute. Add the lemon juice and vodka, stir well. Remove from heat, cool completely and strain.
Ice Cream Maker - Transfer mixture to ice cream maker, process according to manufacturer's instructions.
Freezer Method - Pour into container, cover, and place mixture in the freezer. When it is semi-solid, mash it up with a fork and refreeze again. When frozen, place in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Cover and refreeze until serving time.
Can be prepared 3 days in advance. Cover and keep frozen.
Makes 8 servings.