My father-in-law showed up the other day with a garbage bag full of pink grapefruit that he'd picked from one of his trees. What was I going to do with a garbage bag full of grapefruit? There are six of us in my family, but you can only eat so many grapefruit halves, sectioned, with a sprinkle of sugar. Clearly, I needed to explore the world of cooking with grapefruit.
I found that most recipes I tried used grapefruit as part of an ensemble, never really giving it the lead. But since the fruit is at its peak of sweetness right now, I really wanted to let the flavor be, unabashedly, what it is: tangy, floral, sweet, and with a little bitter zing. What better way to let those qualities come out (other than eating them plain) than to make a grapefruit sorbet?
Sorbet, ice-cream's lighter, more directly flavored cousin, has no dairy or eggs to dilute the flavors of in-season produce, but still has a satisfying, silky texture. This particular sorbet is bright and clear, getting straight to the point. When the grapefruit juice and sugar are matched with a little spicy ginger and a smidge of soothing vanilla, the result is a group of flavors that bounce around your palate in a lively little dance. It's so good, the rest of you might even dance, too.
**Sorbet requires an ice-cream maker. Ask around if you don't have the machine. A lot of people have them and forget to use them, making it something they may not mind lending to you!
Grapefruit Ginger Sorbet
adapted from a recipe in the April 1992 issue of Gourmet
3 cups strained fresh grapefruit juice (pink, Ruby Red, or white)
3/4 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine 1 cup of the grapefruit juice, the sugar, and the grated ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat. Carefully pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and into a medium bowl. Discard the ginger. Pour in the rest of the grapefruit juice and the vanilla extract. Cover and chill the mixture, until cold.
When the mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Yield: about 1 quart
Photo by author