Thursday, April 29, 2010

chocolate sorbet with minted citrus salad

The first time I tasted this dessert (or at least its prototype), I was at a dinner party, where our host prepared a Kurt Gutenbrunner-inspired cod strudel. Expecting an equally elaborate dessert, I was surprised (and a little disappointed) when she instead set out a carton of Ciao Bella chocolate sorbet and a bowl of stewed citrus. To say the dessert over-delivered would be an understatement. It has been in the back of my mind ever since.

This is a wonderfully new (or perhaps very old) take on the chocolate and citrus combination—the frozen equivalent of an orangette. After stewing in a mint simple syrup, the citrus segments are mellowed, but still puckering. They pair perfectly with the rich chocolate.

Chocolate Sorbet with Minted Citrus Salad
Citrus salad adapted from The Last Course, by Claudia Fleming

Feel free to substitute other citrus—clementines, grapefruit, etc.—this is just a basic formula. For the chocolate-averse, vanilla ice cream would make an acceptable (but more…vanilla?) substitute.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1/2 cup loosely packed mint sprigs
3 blood oranges
3 navel oranges
3 lemons
1-2 pints chocolate sorbet (preferably Ciao Bella) or ice cream
Chopped mint, for garnish

In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water to a boil. Add the sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and mint sprigs and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Continue to simmer gently until it thickens, about 7 minutes longer. Let the syrup cool completely, then strain into a large bowl, discarding the solids.

Peel the citrus fruits, removing the white membranes around the segments. Add the citrus segments to the mint syrup and toss to combine. Chill, covered, at least 1 hour.

Spoon the citrus salad over chocolate sorbet. Sprinkle with chopped mint, if desired.

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