The herbs had me at hello. They saw me coming from a mile away with my optimistic spring coat and a gardening glint in my eye, and I didn’t stand a chance. After slogging through a New York winter, the first semi-spring day has me buying armfuls of plants and cramming my cooking with garden-fresh flavors.
Yesterday found me on my hands and knees in a chaotic kitchen, potting plants mere minutes before my dinner guests arrived. I had decided, in a fit of herb-induced euphoria, to whip up a last minute dessert from my windowsill.
I had oranges and thyme, and my corner shop turned up lemons and cream. I decided on a frozen citrus sorbet, topped with cream and candied thyme.
I juiced lemons and oranges, and added a sprinkle of thyme and condensed sweetened milk to cut the tart. With a quick whip of cream, I poured the lovely liquid into hollowed out orange halves and popped them into the freezer.
Then came the fun part – candied thyme. I first encountered sugared fruit as a child at a wedding, and to my young palate it seemed the height of sweet sophistication. I gathered handfuls of thyme from my bedroom, where the herb is growing with wild abandon.
I dipped the sprigs in whipped egg white and sugar, then left them to enjoy their elegance while I jumped in the shower. By the time my guests arrived, my citrus cream cups were set, a cool, refreshing end to a lovely spring dinner and a perfect first submission for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by The Daily Tiffin.
Frozen Citrus Cream with Candied Thyme
1/4 orange juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 thick-skinned oranges
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 sprigs of thyme
1 egg white, whipped
Grate lemons for 2 teaspoons zest, and juice them into a large bowl. Add orange juice and condensed milk. Halve oranges and scoop out pulp, preserving the rind. Trim the bottoms off if necessary to make sure they stand evenly.
In another bowl, whip 1 cup heavy cream. Fold in citrus mixture. Lay orange cups on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spoon mixture into orange cups, reserving 1/2 cup. Freeze.
Whip one egg white until frothy. Dredge thyme in egg, then roll in sugar in a shallow dish. Let stand an hour before serving.
Remove cups from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Top each cup with remaining filling, a dollop of whipped cream and candied thyme.