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I love blood orange juice in the morning.  I learned to love it in Italy, where I’d order it at the bar every morning along with a “ristretto,” (very intense coffee), fuel for my Italian classes.

Here at home, I prefer to press my own blood oranges. They’re in season right now, and everything about them – from their red-splashed skin to their almost purple juice with its delicate floral and citrus flavor, is a delight.

In planning a dinner recently, it occurred to me that a blood orange sorbet would be gorgeous. My first step was to consult my friend and ice cream guru, David Lebovitz.  He thought of blood orange sorbet before I did, so I followed his example.

I had already made rosemary shortbread, a recipe from my own Farmhouse Cookbook, to serve alongside the sorbet.   To prolong the rosemary theme, I added some to the sorbet and it was delicately perfect.

Here is the result.  I hope you can find blood oranges.  You’ll need about 3 pounds (1.5kg) to get 3 cups of juice.  If you cannot find them, go ahead and use Valencias. I’d use half the amount of rosemary in this case. You could also use mandarins, sometimes called Satsuma mandarins. If you use them, omit the rosemary.

Whichever fruit you use, choose the best.  As for the pulp, include it. It makes for better sorbet.  I’ve included the rosemary shortbread recipes, for your enjoyment.

Bon Appetit!

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Blood Orange Sorbet

3 cups (750ml) blood orange juice

½ cup (100g) sugar

¼ cup karo syrup, or other inverted sugar syrup

1 sprig fresh rosemary (about 5-inches long)

1.  Place ½ cup (125ml) juice, the sugar, and the inverted sugar syrup into a small pan over low heat.  Bring it to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove it from the heat, add the rosemary sprig, and let it cool to room temperature. Whisk into the remaining juice, and refrigerate.  Make the sorbet following the ice cream maker’s instructions. The sorbet is best served the day it is made.

About 3-1/2 cups sorbet

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Rosemary Shortbread

1-1/2 cups (375g) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup vanilla sugar

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup white rice flour

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 375F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift the dry ingredients onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.

3.  Cream the butter in a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, until pale yellow and light.  Add the sugar, and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy.

4.  Mince the rosemary, and mix it into the dry ingredients.

5.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter, mixing until everything is combined, and scraping the sides of the bowl so all is mixed thoroughly.

6. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper, to a thickness of ¼-inch.  Cut the cookies in the shape you like.  Arrange them on the baking sheets, leaving about ½-inch between each, and bake until they are golden at the edges, 12 to 15 minutes.

7. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to wire racks to cool.  The cookies will keep for a week, their flavor improving.

About 3 dozen cookies.

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