Every year in January I find myself in a rut. A holiday hangover, if you will. Dreary weather, cookie withdrawals, and an empty corner in my living room where my sparkly tree once stood all leave me feeling like I’m the life of the pity party and I need to snap out of it!
Whether or not you’re a fan of January, there’s one thing on which I’m sure we can relate: in the more frigid months food serves as a huge source of comfort. And while I love traditional comfort food as much as the next girl, my January happy food isn’t a cozy soup or a rich cup of cocoa — it’s winter citrus. Bright, acidic, fruity and available in a variety of happy shades of yellow, orange, pink and peach, it’s pure joy on a gloomy day. In fact, I’m convinced that Mother Nature knew we may need a shining star in the middle of winter, because why else, in a month when almost no other fruit is in season, would perfectly ripened citrus enter the scene? To cheer us up, that’s why!
So when I walked into my local market last weekend and saw the bin overflowing with blood oranges, I couldn’t resist buying a bag-full and making a batch of this Blood Orange & Aperol Sorbet. The color alone is enough to stop you dead in your tracks. Beautifully peach-pink and packed with fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, this sorbet is just the treat to beat winter blues. It’s light and refreshing for those of us looking to avoid heavy sweets after weeks of holiday indulging, and aside from the necessary ice cream maker, it requires very little in the way of preparation and equipment.
While you can make it with as few as four simple ingredients, I’ve added Aperol, a bitter orange liqueur, to make this dessert one that’s extra special. In addition to adding a subtle complexity to the flavor profile, the alcohol also helps keep the sorbet slightly soft and scoopable after freezing. Feel free to use any combination of citrus and liqueur you have on hand — lemon + limoncello, grapefruit + Campari — the possibilities are delicious . Enjoy!
- 2 cups blood orange juice (from 6-8 blood oranges)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons Aperol (optional)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the blood orange juice, sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe container with lid. Place in the refrigerator and chill until cold (overnight is best).
- When the sorbet base is chilled, add the Aperol or liqueur or your choice and mix well. Alcohol is optional but it will help the sorbet stay soft and scoopable in the freezer.
- Add the sorbet base to an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. In my machine, it took about 35 minutes to freeze.
- Transfer sorbet to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 4-6 hours before serving.