Winter may well be giving us its final blast but with these large, citrus orbs on our shelves you know that the seasons are about to change. Honey Murcotts are the most sweetest variety of mandarin and also one of the juiciest. They are covered with an easy to peel skin - though they do come with a lot of seeds.
While it is known as a mandarin here, it may well be also known as a tangerine. While mandarins and tangerines refer to the same citrus species (they are both c. reticulata), the name tangerine has been used to describe a certain type of mandarin, those with a darker skin.
In deciding what to make with these mandarins I had one objective in mind and that was to focus on their sweet, juicy nature. Though it may seem a bit odd considering the season, I felt that sorbet would be the best solution!
500mls/2 cups Honey Murcott mandarin juice
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar
Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and over a medium heat - stir until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.
Peel the mandarins, remove the seeds - this isn't difficult as they are quite large. You can put them through a juicer or you can, as I did, put them in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour this mixture through a fine sieve and discard the solids - you want 2 cups of juice left at the end of this process.
Add the cooled sugar syrup to the mandarin juice and stir. Begin by adding half a cup of syrup and then taste - how much you end up using will depend on just how sweet the fruit was to begin with. I added just under 1 cup of sugar syrup.
Stir well and allow to thoroughly chill before pouring it into the bowl of your ice cream maker - following the manufacturers instructions. This took about 25 minutes to churn.
If you don't have an ice cream maker - you can follow these instructions.
Pour the churned mixture into a freezer proof container - smooth the surface and place in the freezer for a few hours to set completely.
Not only is this refreshing, it has all those sweet mandarin flavours without being too cloying. I can well imagine that in summer this would be a lovely way to get that hit of Vitamin C - it's not that bad in winter either.