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Tangerine-Champagne Sorbet

Serves: Makes 1 quart


  • 3 cups (750ml) freshly squeezed tangerine juice from 4 pounds (1.9kg) tangerines
  • ⅔ cup (140g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) Champagne or sparkling wine


"Most people associate Christmas in Paris with luxe items, specifically oysters, foie gras, Champagne, and chocolate. But no feast is complete until the clementines come out: shiny bowls of little orange citrus, often festooned with their leaves.

From the start of clementine season, which begins in late fall, Parisians make the rounds of the outdoor markets, going from stand to stand, tasting the samples that vendors peel and put on plates to find the sweetest specimens out there. Most vendors use their fingers to peel the tangerines, but a few use their teeth to rip away the skin. (I avoid tasting those particular ones.) Of all the things people associate with winter in Paris—the lavish department store windows, people buying Champagne by the case, lugs of fresh oysters sold on the sidewalks, butchers offering creamy slabs of pate de foie gras—I look forward to those clementines the most. And it’s impossible not to get caught up in the fruit frenzy at the market, with shoppers and vendors loading up big bags to carry home, and no one leaves with less than a few pounds.

Of course, my responsibility every year for Christmas is the final course, and one year I made a dessert that had everyone stunned: a Champagne jelly with supremes (carefully cut sections, with no membranes) of pink grapefruit, tangerines, navel oranges, and thin strips of candied orange peel, festively served in Champagne glasses with a scoop of icy-cold tangerine-Champagne sorbet perched on top. It’s a wonderful do-ahead dessert that goes especially well after winter dishes like cassoulet (page 195) or Counterfeit duck confit (page 179)." –Reprinted with permission from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

In a large saucepan over low heat, warm ½ cup (125ml) of the tangerine juice with the sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2½ cups (625ml) of tangerine juice. Add the Champagne. Transfer to a container and chill thoroughly.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Note that this will not freeze as hard as other sorbets because of the alcohol in the Champagne. However, it will make it more scoopable once fully frozen.

Variations: If you wish to serve this with Champagne gelée, soften 2 envelopes (14g) of unflavored gelatin by sprinkling over ½ cup (125ml) of cold water in a very large bowl and letting sit for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup (125ml) of water with 1 cup (200g) of sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then pour it over the gelatin and stir well. Add 1 bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine (it will foam up, so pour it slowly) and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Pour the mixture into a smaller container and chill until firm, at least 6 hours.

To serve, spoon some of the chilled gelée in wine goblets, breaking it up into bite-size mounds. Garnish with fresh orange, tangerine, or grapefruit segments, or a combination of them. Top with a scoop of tangerine-Champagne sorbet. Duck fat cookies (page 297) make a snappy accompaniment. Tangerine-Champagne sorbet is also good with a spoonful of warm sabayon, made with either Champagne or a sweet dessert wine, such as Sautérnes. Make the sabayon by whisking together ⅔ cup (165ml) of Sautérnes with ⅓ cup (60g) of sugar and 6 large egg yolks in a large bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes foamy. Keep whisking until it thickens; when you lift the whisk, the mixture should hold its shape when it falls back onto the surface.

by David Lebovitz

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