Splurge: orange Creamsicle sherbet: 36 cents/serving

So…oranges are 46 cents a pound this week at the store. Not one to pass up a good fruit sale (if I died tomorrow that would probably be my epitaph), I bought a couple pounds of them with the intent to make a copycat version of Dreyer’s Swiss Orange Sherbet, which I love but has since been discontinued. However, this necessitated my having to purchase chocolate chips five days in advance. Now, I’m not a huge dessert person, and I’m even less of a chocolate person, but five days was just too much. They fought the good fight, those chips, but five days’ worth of 10 pm realizations that there are chocolate chips in the cupboard is a tall order for anyone. With the chocolate chips gone and no budget for more, I had to completely overhaul my dessert vision.

Plain orange sorbet or sherbet was just a little too ascetic and depressing, so I decided to bend more toward the artificial end of the dessert spectrum and opt for a Creamsicle (yes, it’s a brand name) in scoopable form. (Don’t ask me why sherbet is acceptable on a 35-degree night but popsicles aren’t, but that’s just how it is.) It’s certainly not Swiss Orange Sherbet, but it tastes exactly like what it sounds like, and if for some reason you find yourself needing to make a dessert out of nothing but milk and oranges, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown. It makes about 6 polite-sized servings.

Special equipment:
-Ice-cream maker
-Food processor

• 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 lbs. oranges), plus 1 1/2 T orange zest: $1.38
• 1 cup sugar: 25 cents
• 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice: 20 cents
• 1 T vanilla extract: 10 cents
• 1 1/2 cups milk: 24 cents 
• 1/4 tsp kosher salt: 1 cent
TOTAL: $2.18/6 = 36 cents/serving

Be sure to set aside a good chunk of time to juice the oranges. Otherwise you will be rushed and panicky and demanding that this be the Best Sherbet You’ve Ever Had in Your Life, and while it’s very, very good, it’s probably not going to be.

Combine everything but the milk in a food processor and process until sugar has dissolved. It’s a really messy, seemingly inefficient way to do this, but otherwise you’d have to heat it on the stove, and the juice-to-sugar ratio is so high that it just wouldn’t taste as fresh.

Remove processed mixture to a bowl and whisk in the milk. Let chill several hours or overnight, then mix in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions. It will take a few hours to harden. (If you want to harden faster, put it in a wide, shallow container instead of a tall one.)

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