Grapefruit Juicy Fruit

One thing I love about winter is that citrus is in full bloom. Tangerines, mandarin oranges, heirloom navel oranges, Texas ruby red grapefruits, assorted lemons and unusual limes. Bring on the citron.

We were lucky enough to get lots of Texas grapefruits this year from one of our vendors, Green Hills Poultry. Mandy Corso's family has a 60-acre citrus orchard in McAllen and she brought plenty of sweet, tangy and juicy tangerines as well as lots of ruby red grapefruits to sell at the market. It was amazing to see customers buy this citrus by the boxes! While we had hoped they would have enough for the entire month, they sold out last week.

But fear not, it's Citrus Fest at Central Market and there is a sample table where you can taste a dozen different citrus varieties. Literally.

Samples of 12 different kinds of citrus.

Try the Cara Cara oranges and check out the Buddha's Hand for something totally bizarre and beautiful.

Last year, one of my favorite chef bloggers, David Lebovitz, wrote about his experience at Citrus Fest. His images and descriptions of the varieties are fetching and informative, so please take a moment to relish his visual adventure.

Mandy generously gave us plenty of grapefruits last week. Every time I walk by the dining room table, I admire the big bowl of beautiful grapefruits gracing the room and ponder what I should make...

I made a fabulous grapefruit and fennel salad with a grapefruit juice salad dressing the other night, but I really wanted to make a grapefruit dessert of sorts.

It's been unseasonably warm in South Texas for the past few weeks with temperatures in the 70's which inspired me to make a grapefruit sorbet. Why not, right? I did a little searching for recipe ideas, but found that most recipes call for about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups or more of sugar. For a moment, I thought of making something else, but then I called my friend Chef Lou Lambert and asked how he would make a grapefruit sorbet.

Lou has an amazing palate and can create recipes as easily as I make granola. Seemingly with his eyes closed. I also love how Lou incorporates ginger in a lot of his recipes (like the ginger-squash soup we made from his Big Ranch, Big City cookbook). Fresh ginger gives a dish just a little kick and makes you wonder "what is that ingredient"?

Fresh ginger--peeled and diced

So if you are wondering what to do with all of the colorful, aromatic and juicy grapefruits you have collected this winter, I think a grapefruit sorbet would clean your palate and, trust me, your guests will clean their bowl.

Buen provecho!

Grapefruit Sorbet
The Cowgirl Gourmet wrote this recipe down as Chef Lou Lambert, author of Big Ranch, Big City and owner of numerous restaurants across Texas, talked through what he would do to make a grapefruit sorbet

Print recipe

I always knew the man could cook, but create a recipe off the top of his head and for it to turn out like this? Well, it's a gift. And I am glad he uses it. This recipe was suggested to me by Chef Lou Lambert when I asked him what he would do if he were to make a grapefruit sorbet. Now that it's on paper, I hope you will stock up on Texas grapefruits while they are in season and make this sorbet. It's unusually delicious. Light. Creamy. Not sweet. With a hint of ginger. Simply fabulous! As I was making it, I could see Lou making this sorbet in one of his restaurants. It's a little technical, but worth every last step. I promise.

Makes 1 quart

2 cups milk, whole and organic is preferred
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and diced
1/4 cup local honey
Zest of 2 grapefruits
4 Texas red grapefruits

In a saucepan, add milk, ginger, honey and zest and place over medium heat. Stir well so honey melts and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and let steep for 30 minutes and cool.

Meanwhile, get a big bowl. Begin cutting the tops and bottoms off of the grapefruits and then cut away the peel, leaving just the fruit.

Over the bowl, gently hold the grapefruit in one hand and, using a small paring knife with your other hand, cut into the sections and remove the segments of grapefruits making sure all of the juice and the segments go into the bowl. When you are done, squeeze the skins well and throw it away. Continue segmenting the grapefruits until all four are done.

Place the grapefruit segments and the juice in a blender and puree well. Using a sieve, pour the juice back into the bowl allowing the sieve to catch any unwanted particles like seeds, etc.

Next pour the milk mixture into the blender, blend well and then pour through the sieve into the big bowl. Now you will want to push the milk mixture through using a spatula. At the end, you will have a half cup of "stuff" that you should toss--leaving this in the sorbet will change the texture of it.

Stir the grapefruit and milk mixtures well to combine and refrigerate for 3-4 hours to cool. Once chilled, pour this into the ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. It took about 15 minutes for the sorbet to freeze into a nice, soft texture.

Now spoon the sorbet in a large plastic container and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours until frozen.

When ready to serve, remove sorbet from the freezer and allow to soften 5-10 minutes before serving. I like it to soften just a bit so all of the flavors are at their peak.

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