Blood oranges are one of my favorite orange varieties that I recently got into by frequenting my local farmers market. They are my go to orange for snacking, being relatively easy to peel and very juicy and delicious.
Some interesting facts about blood oranges [Wikipedia]:
- They are unique among orange varieties for their raspberry-like flavor
- They contain higher levels of antioxidants than other oranges, which is what produces their reddish pigment
- Their maroon flesh color develops with cool nighttime temperatures during the growing season, and it continues to darken during storage after harvest
I picked up 6 California-grown blood oranges at my local farmers market last weekend with the intention of turning them into a sorbet. However, I was soon inspired to instead make them into an ice cream – adding in candied peels for a more very true and unique blood orange flavor.
The experiment was a success, and the ice cream was amazing! Here’s how I made it…
Candied Blood Orange Ice Cream Recipe
2 cups blood orange juice (6-8 oranges)
½ cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
6 egg yolks
½ cup candied blood orange peels, frozen (see below)
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Juice your blood oranges, filter the juice through a fine sieve to remove solids, and reserve 2 cups of juice (if you have less juice, adjust the amount of sugar accordingly)
- Put sugar in a small saucepan; add about half of the juice; cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved into the juice; pour the sugary juice mixture back into the bowl with the rest of the blood orange juice
- In a medium saucepan, add the eggs, milk, and cream; cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 170ºF and/or coats the back of a spoon
- Once the custard is finished cooking, remove it from the heat and add the blood orange / sugar mixture, as well as the vanilla extract, stirring to combine
- Pour the custard through a fine sieve into a tupperware container, and let it chill in the freezer for a few hours (or overnight)
- (If you have an ice cream maker, here’s where you can just follow the your machines instructions and skip the next few steps)
- Once the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled, prepare a large bowl filled halfway with ice and Ice Cream Salt (or kosher salt will do)
- Pour the ice cream base into a smaller bowl, and place it on top of the large bowl, pushing it in until the ice covers the sides halfway up the bowl
- Whisk the ice cream using a hand mixer for 10 mins (if whisking by hand shoot for 15-20 mins)
- Cover the ice cream base bowl with a towel and place it, including the ice bowl, into the freezer for at least 45 mins
- After 45 mins, remove from freezer and whisk for an additional 5 mins (10 mins if whisking by hand)
- During the last minute of whisking, mix in the frozen, candied orange peels
- Pour the ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and let it sit in the freezer for at least 4 hours before consumption and enjoyment
Candied Orange Peels Recipe
½ cup orange peels
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Set up two saucepans and one large bowl. Fill the large bowl halfway with ice water. Fill each saucepan about halfway with water and set on the stove on high heat. Now, you can begin the process of blanching the orange peels…
- When the water in one of the pots starts to boil, pour in your orange peels. After 30-60 seconds, empty the pot in the sink through a fine sieve and place the orange peels (sieve and all) in the ice water bath. Fill the pot back up halfway with water, and set to boil again. After 30 seconds or so, empty the orange peels into the other pot, whose water should be boiling by now. Repeat this process as many times as you’d like – I’d recommend at least 3 times, but I actually prefer to do it 6 times or so (the more you blanch, the less bitter your orange peels will be).
- Once the blanching is complete, put 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup, and your blanched orange peels into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often, for about 20 mins. At some point, the sugar should dissolve, and the orange peels should become mostly translucent. I prefer my orange peels to be much more sweet than bitter, so letting them simmer for a little longer is totally okay.
- After candying your peels, you can put them (and the syrup) in a tupperware container. I prefer to let them sit overnight in the fridge so that the peels soak up as much sugar as possible.
Observations / Improvements for next time
This is the first citrus-based ice cream that I’ve made, and I’m very satisfied with the results. I’ve always heard that adding citrus to ice cream can be a challenge because citrus curdles in milk, but I didn’t encounter this at all. In fact, making this ice cream was easy peasy, orange squeezy.
I will say that the texture of this ice cream was a bit icier than normal, and I think it due to the inclusion of blood orange juice. Or it could have been a problem with how I whisked the ice cream, but I don’t think that is the case since I used the same technique I’ve always used.
I think that next time, using a little bit less sugar would be better, since the blood oranges and the candied peels were very sweet on their own.
I didn’t do it this time, but next time I definitely plan to freeze the candied orange peels before adding them to the ice cream during whisking so that they maintain a better texture. I also plan to mix in more candied peels next time, maybe 1 cull cup.