I’m sure I’ve gushed again and again how much I love Sour. Sweet is nice, but sour is where it’s at in my book. Soon after I started getting interested in food as more than just “what’s for dinner” kind of thinking, I had heard about Seville oranges: the sourest of all oranges. It became a bit of a quest, my holy grail, to find a Seville orange. No matter where I looked, I couldn’t find a trace of that sour orange. I searched in high-end markets in February (the month when Sevilles are supposedly in store) with no luck. But then last week, after walking down Main Street in search of a pretty skirt, I lucked into a unassuming Asian market where the sign “Marmalade Oranges” caught my eye. Yes, I had finally struck Seville gold!
So I bagged up nearly a dozen oranges and made my way over to the house of a nearby friend who is also a bit of a sour fiend. We cut open the orange and checked it over. It had a very thick rind and a huge amount of seeds, but the essence of orange was strong. We cut a small segment each and sucked on it, laughing at our puckered reactions! Holy Sour Nirvana!! While we quickly decided that the Seville orange isn’t meant to be eaten out of hand, I started thinking up all kinds of things I could do with them. A great orangeade and a vinaigrette, for sure, but when I got home, I hopped on my computer and Google found the perfect recipe for me. Yes, another Nigella Lawson recipe with the enchanting (at least to me) name, Bitter Orange Ice Cream.
The best thing about this ice cream is that you don’t need an ice-cream maker or any special stirring techniques. Nope, just whip it and freeze it and a few hours later you have creamy frozen goodness. While this certainly isn’t traditional ice cream per se, it does scoop up nice into a firm little ball which is perfect for serving in a martini glass or in a dainty vintage sundae cup. If it were the season for fresh strawberries, I’d suggest eating it over a bowlful of those, but it is almost as nice to eat plain out of a bowl or atop a chocolate wafer.
This is a very rich dessert, so I’d suggest keeping serving sizes small but I certainly wouldn’t be against walking by the freezer with a spoon in hand in case of ice cream emergencies. I didn’t adjust or tweak the proportions in the original recipe one bit. It’s perfect as it is with the nicest balance of sweet and sour. And if you don’t have a Seville at hand, use 1 orange and 2 limes to make up the difference.
bitter orange ice cream
3 Seville oranges, or 1 navel orange and 2 limes
1 c + 2 T confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 c heavy cream
Zest and juice the oranges and place in a large metal bowl. Stir in sugar, mixing to melt. Add in heavy cream and whip until soft peaks form. Pour mixture into a lidded shallow container and freeze for at least 3-4 hours until firm. Remove from freezer and let stand for 15 minutes to soften slightly. Use an ice cream scoop to make small balls and serve over fruit salad or eat with chocolate wafers. Or just stroll by the freezer with a spoon and dig in.