This is inspired by Mrs. Rombauer's "Buttermilk Sherbet" in her 1943 edition of "The Joy of Cooking." Did you know that the full title of The Joy then was "The Joy of Cooking: A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat"? Those "casual culinary chats" are one of many things that make this volume so delightful. Regarding Buttermilk Sherbet, which calls for crushed pineapple to flavor it, Mrs. Rombauer reported in 1943, "This remarkable combination has come into favor." While the pineapple, I'm sure, is lovely, I wanted something a bit more vibrant. Another change I made is to leave out altogether the raw egg white called for in that recipe. I have no doubt that the eggs I buy are perfectly safe but, deciding to proceed with caution, I've followed Mrs. Rombauer's basic rule for her other (non-buttermilk) sherbets, to use gelatin instead. Frankly, if you don't care for gelatin, you can probably leave it out altogether. An interesting problem presents itself with this recipe due to the differences in the buttermilk available today. I am quite certain that the buttermilk the dairies deliver to our grocery stores in 2011 -- a "cultured lowfat milk product" -- is quite different from what the dairies delivered to the doorsteps of Americans in 1943. To get a better consistency in this sherbet, I've added a touch of full-fat coconut milk. It scents the sherbet very lightly, and gives it a great "mouth feel." The liqueur is the only sweetener. I use my own ratafia, which provides bright coriander notes, but any commercial orange liqueur would do fine (as would limoncello or whatever other flavored liqueur you believe would pair nicely with the orange). See my notes below, at the end of the instructions, if you don't have a suitable liqueur on hand. Enjoy!! —AntoniaJames
Test Kitchen Notes
Who doesn't love orange sherbet? I really like the addition of buttermilk and coconut milk in this recipe. They make the sherbet nice and creamy and it's a wonderful balance to the triple punch of oranges, orange peel and orange liqueur. This was delicious and lots of fun to make. I topped mine with a bit of dark chocolate syrup. What was left made a fantastic creamsicle milk shake. A perfect summer treat in the middle of winter! —cgilsbach
4 - 6 (makes about a pint)
4 large navel or Cara Cara oranges
1 teaspoon gelatin
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup orange or similar ratafia, or orange liqueur (see note below for an alternative)
Grate the zest of 2 oranges into a small heavy saucepan or microwaveable glass measuring cup. Add the ratafia and cook until reduced to about 3 tablespoons of syrup. (Don't worry too much about getting it exactly right.)
Peel and cut into supremes all four oranges. Don't worry too much about getting every last bit of membrane off, as you would for a salad or ambrosia. You just want to make sure you don't use any bitter and tough bits of pith or membrane.
Put the orange sections and the buttermilk in a blender. Puree for about a minute.
Add the reduced liqueur and the coconut milk to the blender and blend for about thirty seconds.
Soften the gelatin in one tablespoon of cold water. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of boiling water and stir well to dissolve. Immediately put into the blender and buzz it on a low speed for at least a full minute.
Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
If you do not have any liqueur, or don't wish to include any in this recipe, dissolve 3 tablespoons of sugar in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, along with three or four 1-inch pieces of orange zest (just the orange part of the peel, with as little of the white pith as you can manage), a teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds and a whole clove, and simmer very gently for about two minutes. Allow the syrup to cool a bit, then strain before using.
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)