I spent yesterday morning at the Jean-Talon market with my sister looking for Meyer lemons. I was lucky to find the last four at Chez Louis, as Nino's had just sold out. I bought them and mentally I quartered the recipe that I had been planning on making. "So much for a year's supply of Meyer marmalade," I thought. As I was leaving the store, however, I spotted a basket of ugli fruit. I grabbed a few and headed home with my modest bounty.
Uglis aren't nearly as homely as their name might lead you to believe--I consider them unique looking. They are part of the tangelo family (mandarins crossed with grapefuits), and are encased in a thick, rough flesh. The fruit inside is very fragrant: citrus with honey and flowers. I first tried it at Les Chèvres, where it's used in a granité as part of a pre-dessert with pineapple confit and fromage blanc. The flavor literally took my breath away the first time I tasted it. It's really a perfect fruit for me, both sweet and tart, light and perfumed.
At home, I confronted the uglis. I had no idea what I was going to do with them. With Spring Fever in the air, though, a frozen dessert seemed like a natural. Something light, but not icy. Something like... sherbert. I had just bought some crème fraiche (thankfully, Liberté has finally introduced a local crème fraiche to this starved market) and I was in the mood to experiment. This is how I combined them:
3 uglis, juiced
some zest from an ugli
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. crème fraiche
1 tsp. gelatin
2 Tbsp. water
-Make a syrup with the sugar and first count of water.
-Pour over juice and zest.
-Add mixture to crème fraiche slowly, making sure it mixes in well.
-Soak gelatin in second count of water, then dissolve over low heat. Add to mixture.
-Cover and chill, then process in your ice cream maker.
Trust me, you won't be disappointed. I'm not the only one raving about it, both Anthony and Hermine love it, too.
Oh, and by the way: this is the way I'd serve Ugli Sherbert in my restaurant: in a shot glass with a tiny dessert spoon.