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We love that you're here and hope you'll browse the site and grab some recipes.  
The Circle B Kitchen has been blogging since September, 2009.  We have loads of recipes and thoughts on food to share in the coming weeks and months, so come back and check in often!  We love hearing from you and hope you'll leave a comment or shoot an email our way.  Whether you have questions about a recipe or the site in general, please let us know...    Contact me at      pberry@circle-B-kitchen.com

Hey Guys!!

I've got a couple new Circle B Kitchen features that I'm pretty excited to tell you about!  Firstly, I've started a new series on my Matters and Musings page dealing with quick and easy dinner prep.  We all have those nights when it seems that there just isn't time to get dinner together or we just don't feel like cooking and I've got some nifty ideas and recipes for you on that subject.  I’ll be posting something new as often as I can, so check it out!!  The other change is a little more subtle, but still pretty awesome.  At least I think so.  

Here's the thing... sometimes reading through a recipe to figure out what you're supposed to do and when you’re supposed to do it can be a huge pain, especially if you're in a hurry or time is limited.  And the truth is that in the restaurant world, recipes are not laid out the way they are for home cooks, so I've added a feature that sort of mimics how things are often done in restaurant kitchens, which is to add a section to each recipe after the ingredients list called "prep".  In that section, I will list each step to take to get everything prepped and ready before you ever start the actual cooking.  It's sort of based on the whole "mis en place" theory, which truly does make cooking faster and easier.  I hope you find both of these helpful in getting dinner on the table quickly, easily and with a lot less hassle.

Big hugs from the Circle B Kitchen...


Find a Circle B Kitchen Recipe 

Some of Our Favorite Thanksgiving Fare

Asparagus Crepes with Gruyere Cheese         

      Circle B Kitchen Apple Crisp

Old Fashioned Brown Sugar Pie

Sweet Corn Pudding

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

               Kale Gratin

Caramel Pumpkin Custards

Persimmon Pudding Cake

Buttermilk Pie with Caramelized Pecans

Bread Baker's Apprentice Cornbread    

Buttermilk Angel Biscuits

And just in case you were wondering...



Our oldest daughter, Erin, has been riding, training and showing horses since she was a teenager.  She graduated from Colorado St. University with a degree in Equine Science and is now Financial and Administrative Manager for HETRA (Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Association), which provides therapy through horseback riding for children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head injuries, blindness, autism, and strokes.  For more information or to donate to this amazing cause, please visit http://www.hetra.org/ .



Entries in dessert (22)


Foolproof Lemon Meringue Pie


I’ve been going back and forth for the better part of a year as to whether I should actually do a post on lemon meringue pie.  And for the better part of a year I’ve mostly decided against it.  Until recently, when after making one for my Dad’s 91st birthday, I decided it was time to just do it.  I wish the title of the post could be “The perfect lemon meringue pie in only 30 minutes!”  Alas, no, as of this writing, I’ve yet to see or hear of a perfect, from scratch, recipe for lemon meringue pie that’s any shorter than the one our grandmothers used.  But despite this, I think we can all agree that there are few things as exquisitely delicious as a beautifully home-made lemon meringue pie. 

It’s no wonder that most of us have sort of a love-hate relationship with lemon meringue pie…love to eat it; hate to make it.  It seems there should be a support group for that. And I’m here to tell you that the cavalry has arrived!  And our support group looks suspiciously like the good folks over at Cook’s Illustrated.  Fortunately, they’ve provided all of the help and support we need to make a superlatively delicious lemon meringue pie without fear and intimidation.  Well, I suppose the fear and intimidation are up to you, but the pie is spot on and I’m happy to say, very do-able.  The downside?  Time.  You must set aside a bit of time.  The rest is a breeze. 

I’ve been making lemon meringue pies for lots and lots of years, owing mostly to the fact that my Dad’s favorite pie, well his favorite dessert is lemon meringue and I’ve always done my best to make sure he got at least one a year, and possibly more often than that if I was feeling generously masochistic. 

I finally just said enough already, and a couple of years ago I got serious about making a lemon meringue that didn’t scare me half to death and that I could depend on to come out perfectly every time.  And that’s when I gave this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated a try and found the pie of my dreams.  And Dad’s too, I might add. 

So when his birthday rolled around last week and he turned 91 (way to go, Dad!), I felt completely confident and comfortable pulling out this recipe and getting it done.  Which is exactly what I did, and once again, it came out beautifully.  So I think it’s high time we faced our fears and started making ourselves some lemon meringue pies! 

I’m pretty sure that what sets this pie apart from other lemon meringue pies has to be the meringue.  It’s beautifully thick and fluffy and because of the addition of a cornstarch slurry, it doesn’t fall or shrink or shrivel.  It really does come out perfect every time. 

So in an attempt to make our lemon meringue pie assembly a bit more user-friendly, let’s just break it down into 3 parts…the crust, the filling and the meringue.  And I’ll just start by apologizing for not having any process photos.  I really wasn’t thinking that I would do a lemon meringue post but changed my mind after it was done, so I have no photos of it coming together.  My bad. 

Anyway, we’ll start with the crust, (here's my recipe) which I HIGHLY recommend you make a day or two ahead of time.  If you’re buying your crust, you’ll still want to do this because the pie shell must be partially baked first.  As in “blind-baking”, which sounds ominously difficult, but I promise you get to keep your eyes open for this part. 

This not-so-aptly-named process just assures that your crust won’t get soggy and is cooked all the way through and involves lining your pie shell with foil, filling it with dried beans or pie weights and partially cooking it.  Then it must cool before you add the filling, so I just stash it in the fridge until it’s time to make the pie. 

Then there’s the filling, which I think is the easiest part of the deal, takes only minutes to make and is a perfect balance of sweet and lemony goodness. 

Lastly, the dreaded meringue.  This, my friends, is where we usually check out and say no, thank you.  I’ll just put whipped cream on top.  But not today.  No, people, today we will be brave!  We will make meringue!!  And it will be beautiful and it won’t shrink and your culinary street cred will soar and mostly you’ll just marvel at the beauty that you have created.  Oh, and it will taste really good too. 

All of this is because those clever folks at Cook’s Illustrated have provided us a little trick and it’s a simple little mixture of cornstarch and water that you will whip into your egg whites, which will stabilize them and keep them looking beautiful for about 3 months.  OK, no lemon meringue pie would ever sit uneaten that long, but my point is that this meringue will not fall, shrink or collapse.  Whatever calamity has befallen your meringue in the past, it will not happen here.  This works. 

So we know we can make this pie.  And it will be perfect and it will be beautiful, but here’s the bonus… it tastes amazing.  If you love lemon meringue as I do, this is non-negotiable.  It doesn’t matter how good it looks, it’s gotta taste awesome and this one does. 

Alrighty then, people.  Gird your loins, get out your mixers and make some pie.  With meringue!  Here’s the recipe… 

Foolproof Lemon Meringue Pie 

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe courtesy, Cook's Illustrated

This is undoubtedly the best, most reliable lemon meringue pie I've made.  It turns out perfectly every time, and after you get over the lengthy instructions, you'll see that there's nothing at all tricky about any of it. Each step is quite simple and straightforward.  I totally recommend that you prepare your pie crust one or two days before you make the pie. 


One 9-inch pie shell, store-bought or homemade (here's my recipe)


1½ cups water
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch (I add just a little more to ensure that the filling holds up)
⅛ tsp salt
6 large egg yolks
1 Tbls grated lemon zest plus ½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 Tbls unsalted butter 


 cup water
1 Tbls cornstarch
4 large egg whites
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup (3½ oz) granulated sugar 


For the Pie Crust:
The crust must be partially baked before assembling the pie, which is called “blind baking”.  You will need a piece of aluminum foil and about 1 lb of dried beans or pie weights.  You can do this 1 or 2 days before you plan on making the pie. Here's how it's done...

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven.

1.  Roll your pie crust out and place it in a 9-inch pie pan, leaving about ½-inch overhang.  Fold the overhang under along the edge of the pie pan and the crimp or flute as desired. 

2.  Place the pie in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes to chill, which will help the crust to keep its shape in the oven. 

2.  Line the chilled pie crust with a piece of aluminum foil, folding the edges as needed to fit just under the outside edge of the crust.  Fill the pie with dried beans or pie weights and place it in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees. 

3.  Remove the pie from the oven and carefully remove the foil and very hot beans to a pan or bowl to cool.  Use a fork to gently prick the bottom of the crust, which will ensure that the crust will not rise or form bubbles in the oven.  Return the pie to the oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes or so.  The crust should be lightly golden brown.

4.  Place the pie pan on a rack to cool completely and then refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pie.  I place my pie shell in an extra large Ziploc bag to protect it in the refrigerator. 

When you are ready to assemble the pie… 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. 

For the Filling: 

Bring water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a simmer in large saucepan, whisking occasionally at first and then as it thickens, stir it constantly. When mixture starts to turn translucent, whisk in egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in lemon zest and juice and butter. Return mixture to brief simmer, then remove from heat. Lay sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to keep warm and prevent skin from forming. (I just put a lid on my pan) 

For the Meringue: 

Bring water and cornstarch to simmer in small saucepan and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened and translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 

Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar on med-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to med-high and beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated and mixture forms soft, billowy mounds. Add cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat to glossy, stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Meanwhile, remove plastic from filling and return to very low heat during last minute or so of beating meringue (to ensure filling is hot). 

Pour still-warmed filling into the pre-baked pie crust. Using a rubber spatula, immediately distribute meringue evenly around the edge and then the center of pie, attaching meringue to pie crust to prevent shrinking. Using back of spoon, create attractive swirls and peaks in meringue. Bake until meringue is light golden brown, about 20 minutes. 

Place the pie on a wire rack to cool for at least 3 hours, but longer is better to ensure that the filling has ample time to set up.  

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment 


Team Fig!

I was totally planning on posting a very different dish today, especially since I’ve been talking a lot about dessert lately, but it’s fig season, people!  And fig season isn’t going to hang around forever, so I thought it my culinary duty to remind you to grab some figs while they’re still with us and enjoy the heck out of them before it’s too late and you are forced to spend the next 6 months in an unbalanced state teetering between deprivation anxiety (that's a real thing) and wistful longing.  

As much as I love figs, I also realize that mine is not a universal experience.  There are those, like yours truly, who believe figs are one of the finest, tastiest and most delicious fruits that one can possibly find on this planet.  Then, there are the rest of the people. 

If you find yourself on team fig, then you’ll be with me (self-proclaimed team captain), enjoying delicious things such as this fig crostata that I just threw together one day because it was fig season and that’s the kind of thing that fig lovers do...we just find ways to work them into our life.  I must beg your indulgence, though, as I didn’t have my camera present when I made the crostata and took this photo with my phone.  Then, when it came time to actually finish the crostata for consumption, I didn’t have my phone handy to record how pretty each slice was, and consumption proceeded without documentation. But I will tell you that after slicing the crostata, each piece was topped with slightly sweetened-vanilla-laden, creamy mascarpone cheese and then drizzled with some lusciously thick balsamic syrup.  And I will also tell you that it was a mighty pretty sight, eclipsed only by it's figgy deliciousness.

Assuming that you’re a member of team fig, let’s talk about those luscious little globes of deliciousness.  If you’re lucky enough to have a tree in your yard or your neighbor’s yard or in your neighborhood, or somewhere within a 5-mile radius of your home, then you know that the very best way to enjoy a fig is plucked right fresh from the source.  We had a fig tree (well, kind’ve a shrub) in our back yard when I was little and this is where I had my first fig experience.  It was most definitely love at first bite.  Beyond that, the fig newton was pretty much our family mascot, and I’m fairly certain it was emblazoned on our family crest.  Those ubiquitous fig cookies were present at every family vacation, road trip, beach party, picnic and pantry raid.  There were just always fig newtons in my life, and to this day they hold an especially nostalgic and beloved place on my favorite cookie list.  But I digress.

You might notice that there aren’t a whole bunch of fig recipes on my blog and there’s a very good reason for that.  I prefer not to do a bunch of fussy stuff with figs.  The fanciest thing I’ve done is this bread pudding,

which, odd photo notwithstanding, is so amazingly delicious.  But if you’re a real fig lover, you also must try these (O-M-G!)...

figs dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt).  I can't even describe to you how good these are.  

And then there’s this fig jam, which is so good and so easy to make and will provide a bit of fig happiness long after fig season is over. 

So I absolutely and whole-heartedly encourage you to find yourself some fresh figs and dip em in chocolate, make some jam, bake em crostata-style, or simply find a team mate to share a bowl of them with you.  Before it's too late.  Sigh.


P.S.  Here are just a few of fig's best friends to inspire you into further fig enjoyment... goat cheese, blue cheese, any cheese, actually, chocolate, bacon, balsamic, ice cream, and of course, Newtons. 

Fresh Fig Crostata

Click here for a printable recipe

The beautiful thing about crostatas are that they do not require much fussiness.  They’re rustic, free-form and open to your creative whims and impulses.  Here’s how I made mine, but feel free to switch it up and make it your own.  

Enough pastry dough for a 9 or 10-inch pie crust (store bought or homemade)
6 or 7 fresh, ripe figs, sliced
2 tablespoons of raw or turbinado sugar
Balsamic vinegar syrup (recipe below)
Mascarpone cream (recipe below) 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Place the parchment paper onto a flat surface and roll the pastry dough into a 10 or 12-inch circle (this doesn’t need to be exact as rustic looks best) on the parchment paper.  Transfer this to your baking sheet. 

Place the fig slices over the center of the dough, leaving a 1½ to 2 inch border.  Fold the edges of the dough over the figs.  Sprinkle the figs and the edges of the dough with the raw sugar and place in a preheated oven.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges of the dough start to turn golden brown. 

Let cool briefly before slicing.  This can be served warm or at room temperature.  To serve, top each slice with a dollop of mascarpone cream and a drizzle of balsamic syrup. 

For the Balsamic Syrup:

In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and ¼ cup sugar.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until reduced by half or until thick and syrup-y.  Be careful to not let it get too thick as it will thicken further as it cools.  Another version of this that makes an incredibly delicious syrup is to cook down 1 cup of balsamic vinegar with 1 cup of port wine and 1/2 cup of sugar.  Let this simmer until thick and syrup-y.  It's divine.

For the Mascarpone Cream:

Combine 8 oz of softened (room temperature) mascarpone cheese with 2 teaspoons vanilla and ¼ cup of sugar.  Stir to combine thoroughly.  Add more sugar to taste.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment 


Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler


A totally awesome thing happened here this week!  And that awesome thing is that we got to eat this incredibly delicious peach cobbler.  There were probably several awesome things that happened this week, but this is pretty much all I can think about.  And even with all of that hyperbole, it honestly almost feels like I'm understating how good this stuff is.  I hope that I will do it justice here and that you will rush out and get your hands on the last of this summer's fresh peaches and get it made.

Every summer here in Nebraska we get these beautiful, fresh, sweet, juicy peaches from Colorado and I buy em up as fast as I can.  I always make our favorite fresh peach cobbler round about the 4th of July, and we slice up peaches all summer long to put on our yogurt and granola at breakfast.  When I came across this recipe on Serious Eats, my heart sort of skipped a beat, and I swear, we had our spoons dipping into it that night.  I mean, snickerdoodles meet peach cobbler?  Are you kidding me?  Then that first bite...when The Husband finally was able to speak, he was just like, "This is maybe the best thing I've ever eaten."  I had to agree.

Now, that may or may not be true (the part about it being the very best thing we've ever eaten), but in that moment it just felt true.  Holy moley, let's start with the peaches which are sliced and marinated in this scrumptious bourbon-brown sugar mixture and then layered in the bottom of some ramekins.  I know, right?

Then on top of those beautiful peaches we're going to place what is basically a cinnamon-dusted ball of snickerdoodle cookie dough.  I mean, really.

THEN we're going to bake them and those peaches are going to get all bubbly and tasty and that snickerdoodle topping is going to get a little crunchy on the top and soft in the middle and all of those flavors are going to create something very, very special.

Then we're going to top it with some of our homemade (lower fat) vanilla ice cream and pretty much that's where words seem to vanish, so it's about all I can say.  I hope it's enough. Here's the recipe...

 Snickerdoodle Peach Cobbler

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

You would be hard pressed to find anything that tastes as good as this cobbler.  We were totally blown away by its deliciousness.  I used 4 peaches (instead of the 8 called for in the recipe), halving the macerating liquid as well, which perfectly fit into 6  1/2-cup ramekins.  But I made the full recipe of snickerdoodle topping and used the leftovers to make some little cookies.  So good!

For the Snickerdoodle Topping:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 

For the Peaches:
8 ripe peaches
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon bourbon 

For the Sugar Coating
1/4 cup raw sugar (turbinado)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (here's our recipe)

For the Cookie Dough
In a stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.  Beat in the egg and vanilla, then combine all the rest of the ingredients before beating into the dough at a low speed, finishing by hand to avoid overworking the dough.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the Peaches:  Peel the peaches and cut into quarters, then cut each quarter in two or three slices depending on size.  Toss to coat thoroughly with brown sugar, ginger and bourbon.  Set aside and allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes.

To Bake:  Set a rack in center of oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Evenly divide peaches among 10- 12 (1/2-cup) ramekins, adding macerating liquid equally to each one.  Roll lumps of cookie dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.  Roll to coat thoroughly in cinnamon-sugar mix, and flatten slightly, placing each in center of a cobbler.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cookie is baked through, but still very soft and peaches release juice that bubbles around the edges.  Allow to cool slightly before serving, topped with ice cream.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment


Homemade Orange Sherbet Redux

Soooooooo.  It’s been almost a whole month since we shared with you our homemade orange sherbet recipe, and perhaps you are now as hooked on the stuff as we are.  It honestly needs nothing added to it but a bowl and a spoon, but I just couldn’t leave it there, and have come up with two scrumptious desserts that you can make using that tasty sherbet. 

There is one thing you won’t need for either of these scrumptious desserts, which is an oven.  And there’s one thing you will need (in addition to the sherbet), and that’s some vanilla ice cream, preferably our homemade lower-fat vanilla bean ice cream.  I keep a container of both in the freezer at all times because they’ve become best friends in our house.  

So while you go and get those two things together, I’ll tell you about the first of our two very tasty desserts, pictured above… our 50-50 Creamsicle Ice Cream Sandwiches.  

In my Orange Sherbet post, I shared with you my childhood devotion to the creamsicle bar, which is basically an ice cream bar with both vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet… which I am still, lo these many years, rather partial to.  So, to pay homage to this totally awesome flavor combination, I came up with these ice cream sandwiches, which take that creamsicle theme to a whole new place. 

I started with these waffle cookies from Trader Joe's.  No worries if you don't have a Trader Joe's from which to procure these delectable little confections.  You can order them online, or find a suitable subtitute, as I think there are lots of different companies that make them.

Then the first thing we’re going to do is spread each of those cookies with a little Nutella. 

I know, we could just stop there, right?  Well, we’re not going to stop there.  No, we’re going to top half of those with vanilla ice cream and half of them with orange sherbet. 

Then we’re going to put them together and freeze them and try to wait just long enough for them to re-freeze.  Holy moly, people, these are so good. 

Our second creamsicle-themed dessert is an ice cream pie that is just sort of awe-inspiring, but so very simple to put together.  It starts with a crust made with chocolate cookies.  I used Trader Joe’s chocolate Kitty cookies, but any chocolate wafer cookie will do.  

Then we’re going to top that chocolate crust with some orange sherbet and after that’s spent a bit of time in the freezer, we’ll top it with some softened vanilla ice cream and then return it to the freezer.  When it’s all good and re-frozen, it’s ready to serve.  I topped it with some more of those cute little kitty cookies, but a nice drizzle of chocolate sauce and maybe some grated orange zest would be lovely as well. 

So there you have it folks, two memorably delicious desserts to keep you and your people happy in the remaining summer days ahead.  Here are the recipes…

50-50 Creamsicle Ice Cream Sandwiches

Click here for a printable recipe

These are some of the most delectable little ice cream sandwiches we've had the pleasure of meeting.  I used the waffle cookies from Trader Joe's to make them, but any waffle cookie or thin cookie will do.  If you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, you can order these cookies online.  I used our homemade lower-fat vanilla ice cream and homemade orange herbet, but of course, store-bought will also work great.

You will need...

Waffle cookies (I used Trader Joe's)
Vanilla ice cream (here's my recipe), slightly softened
Orange Sherbet (here's my recipe), slightly softened

For each sandwich, you will need 2 waffle cookies.  Spread one side of each cookie with a thin layer of Nutella spread.  I placed these in the freezer for a bit before adding the ice cream.

Remove the cookies from the freezer and spread some of the vanilla ice cream on one and some of the orange sherbet on the other.  Place the two cookies together and return them to the freezer until they are completely frozen.

Once they are frozen, you can place them in a container or ziploc bag and keep them in the freezer for up to a month, which makes them a great make-ahead dessert.

Creamsicle Ice Cream Pie
This ice cream pie is ridiculously delicious for how easy it is to make.  I used Trader Joe's Chocolate Kitty cookies for the crust, but any chocolate wafer cookie will work for the crumbs.  I also used our homemade vanilla ice cream and homemade orange sherbet, but of course, store-bought would make this even easier.  I topped the pie with a scattering of Kitty Cookies, but it would be equally as good with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of orange zest.

You will need...

For the Crust
1 1/2 cups of chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

For the Pie
1 1/4 cups of orange sherbet (here's my recipe), softened
1 1/2 cups of vanilla ice cream (here's my recipe), softened

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray

In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, the melted butter and sugar.  Using your fingers, press the crumbs into the prepared pie plate.

Spread the orange sherbet over the cookie crust, spreading evenly over the top.  Place the pie in the freezer for at least an hour.

Remove the pie from the freezer, spread the vanilla ice cream over the top of the orange sherbet and return the pie to the freezer.  Freeze for at least two hours before serving.  Top the pie with crumbled chocolate cookies or a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of orange zest.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment 


Homemade Orange Sherbet

Pardon me as I wax a bit nostalgic for a moment here, but for me, summertime in the ‘hood back in the 50’s and 60’s was just plain fun; the ‘hood being a middle class neighborhood in a suburb of L.A.  Our particular neighborhood was peopled with working class families with lots of post-war kids, and if you can even imagine it, not one electronic device other than our big ol’ radios and black and white TV’s.  Which meant that summer evenings were spent playing freeze tag and kick ball and waiting for the ice cream truck to make its way over to our street.  I’ve always been pretty up front about my age, but if this doesn’t make me sound old, I just don’t know what. 

But back then it was always a tough decision to have to choose between fudgsicles, popsicles, drumsticks, ice cream sandwiches, Eskimo Pies, and one of my personal favorites…the creamsicle or 50-50 bar, which was half vanilla ice cream and half orange sherbet.  I think I most often ended up with that 50-50 bar, and for years ever after, I’ve had an orange sherbet crush, made all the better if I can pair it up with some vanilla ice cream.  And which probably led to my total and complete addiction to the Orange Julius in high school. 

But here’s the thing… to me, orange sherbet just isn’t quite what it used to be.  It could be all the additives and artificial ingredients that get thrown into it nowadays, or it could just be a selective memory thing, or maybe it really was better back then.  Hard to say, but I decided it was high time I made some up just to see if I could replicate those sherbet flavors of my youth. 

But why isn’t it spelled sherbert?

I started with a recipe from my Cuisinart ice cream maker (very forgettable); moved on to one from Alton Brown (better, but still not quite there) and then landed on this one from Fine Cooking.  Score!!  Oh man, is this stuff good.  Super bright and orange-y, balanced with just the right amount of creaminess and the perfect sweet to tangy ratio, and in my humble opinion, maybe even better than my beloved childhood sherbet.  

We’re going to start with fresh oranges, which, of course, is what this sherbet is all about, although one time I swapped out a few of the fresh oranges for some fresh-squeezed, organic tangerine juice and it was amazing!! 

Then we’re going to zest up a few of those oranges and infuse this stuff with even more orangey-ness, which is what I think sends it right over the edge of sherbet mediocrity and into orange sherbet legend.  

Of course, you don’t have to dredge up some sappy childhood memories from the 50’s to get excited about orange sherbet.  It’s just pretty much one of those cold summertime treats that's ever so easy to love.  Here’s the recipe…

Homemade Orange Sherbet

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe Courtesy Fine Cooking 

At the risk of setting your expectations impossibly high, I’m still going to say that this may be some of the best orange sherbet you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.  It’s bright and citrusy and creamy and sweet and tangy all at the same time and all of that is so perfectly balanced and just so good.  The only change I made to the recipe was to use half and half instead of cream.  We loved it, but if you’re game for using the cream, I can only imagine how even more creamy and wondrous it would be.  Please DO use fresh-squeezed orange juice.  From real, fresh oranges.  Mostly because of the fresh orange flavor, but also because you absolutely cannot skip the step where you steep the orange zest to make this even more awesomely orange.  Lovely stuff. 

10 medium navel oranges (about 5 lb.)
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used half and half) 

Finely grate enough zest from the oranges to yield 2 Tbs., and then squeeze the oranges to yield 3 cups juice. 

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the zest, 1 cup of the juice, and the sugar to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Strain though a fine sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on the zest; discard the zest. 

Strain the remaining orange juice and the lemon juice into the bowl, and then whisk in the heavy cream. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. 

Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the sherbet to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

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