Meyer Lemon Sundae with Tangelos and Cara Cara OrangesOh, is it Mother’s Day this Sunday? Here is one of my favorite desserts from my own cookbook: a simple Meyer Lemon ice cream (more like a sherbet, actually) with pretty segments of pink navel oranges and deep orange tangelos in a “sauce” of the fruits’ juices, topped off with a generous splash of Moscato d’Asti (a lovely, reasonably priced, light and fizzy Italian dessert wine). Yes, I know, I’m not supposed to play favorites, but I felt particularly inspired when I created this recipe.

Late-season citrus is a fabulous thing. The fruits have been hanging on their trees for a long time, soaking up the sun, enjoying cool nights, all of which produce intense sweet-tart flavors and vibrant colors. Although May is the time to lavish love on strawberries–and even cherries and early peaches in California–don’t overlook this last chance to enjoy winter citrus varieties.

I’m sure there’s some sort of symbolism I could point out here about mother love, May strawberries, and low-hanging fruit, but I think I’ll pass. Instead, I’ll wish mothers everywhere, including my own, a lovely Mother’s Day. And reminder to my girls: I wouldn’t mind having this for dessert come Sunday!

Meyer Lemon Sundaes with Cara Caras and Tangelos

For a dairy-free vegan version of this ice cream, substitute coconut milk for the cream. If you don’t have Meyer lemons, ordinary Eureka lemons will work. And, you can use Valencia or regular navel oranges (season is just starting) for Cara Caras.

3 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream, cold from the refrigerator
3 Cara Cara oranges
4 Tangelos
Handful of fresh Persian mint leaves, torn
Raspberries for serving
1 1/2 to 2 cups Moscato d’Asti

Use a Microplane to finely grate the zest from the lemons; you should have 3 to 4 tablespoons. Juice the lemons; you should have 2/3 cup juice. In a small pot, stir together the water, sugar, and lemon zest and juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and boil for 2 minutes. Chill the syrup thoroughly.

Stir the cream into the lemon mixture and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To assemble the sundaes, use a zester to remove the zest from the tangelos in long, thin strands and reserve. Peel and segment the oranges and tangelos into a bowl, then squeeze the juice from their membranes over the segments. Scoop the ice cream into bowls, spoon the citrus segments and their juice over and around the ice cream, and top with the tangelo zest, mint, and a few raspberries. Pour 1/4 cup Moscato d’Asti into each bowl.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

From: The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, 2007).