Chocolate and Kumquat Sorbet
ice cream,  recipes

Chocolate and Kumquat Sorbet

Of all the citrus-and-chocolate mix-and-matches, the kumquat-and-chocolate pairing in the form of a sorbet, beats them all. Kumquats are tiny citruses full of flavour and they are usually found in winter. They have a bitter flesh, a flavourful citrusy skin and an overall complex, flowery flavour.

This Chocolate and Kumquat Sorbet requires some steeping to abstract the maximum flavour possible from the kumquats. And a good quality chocolate and cocoa powder, as the chocolate taste will be clearly pronounced in the final sorbet. You do not need to go over the top by buying the most expensive chocolate available, just use the chocolate that best suits to your taste buds. In the ingredients, a chocolate with 61% cocoa solids percentage is used, but in the ingredients you are provided with a wider range of cocoa solid percentages you can use.

Chocolate and Kumquat Sorbet

Special Equipment needed:

Ice Cream Machine

Food processor

Blender or Immersion Hand Blender


  1. Freeze your ice cream machine’s container at least 24 hours before the time you plan to churn the sorbet.
  2. Make the sorbet base 12 hours before the time you plan to churn it.
  3. Let the sorbet sit in the freezer for 4-5 hours after churning, before you serve it.

This batch is for an ice cream maker of 1.5 liter/quart capacity.


  • 300 gr kumquats, fresh ( about 7 ounces )
  • 500 ml, + as needed, water ( about 2 cups  + as needed )
  • 140 gr raw cane demerara sugar ( or regular white sugar, see footnotes ) ( about 5 ounces )
  • 20 gr cocoa powder ( about 0.7 ounces )
  • 200 gr bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, about 50% – 70% cocoa solids ( about 7 ounces )
  • pinch of salt

Step 1 – Prepare the Kumquat Base

Wash and gently rub the kumquats under tepid, running water. Pat them dry and cut them in quarts, lengthwise. No need to remove the seeds.

Put them in the food processor and pulse them for a few seconds till roughly pureed. If needed, work in batches.

In a medium, non-reactive saucepan put the kumquats and the 500 ml water and warm over medium to high heat.

Bring it to a full boil and let it boil for one minute. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let steep for 1-2 hours. The more you let them steep, the more intense the kumquat flavour will be. However, do not leave it in room temperature for more than 4 hours.

Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl, and pour the water and kumquat over it. Using a silicone spatula, help the pureed kumquats to pass through the mesh sieve, aiming to extract as much fruit pulp as possible. Do not forget to scrape the bottom of the sieve with the spatula, to collect the pulp which underlies there.

Discard the kumquats which remained in the sieve.

Step 2 – Prepare the Sorbet Base

Put the chopped chocolate in the blender. For Immersion Hand Blender

If using an immersion hand blender instead, put the chocolate in a large, deep bowl. It could be the same you used to extract the kumquats, no need to rinse it.

Give a quick rinse to the saucepan to remove any solids and pat dry. Put it on a kitchen scale and set to zero.

Pour in the liquid you extracted from the boiled and sieved kumquats and check the weight. Mine was 550 gr . You will need to add sufficient amount of water to reach a final 750 gr. In my example, I added 200 gr of water, because 750 gr – 550 gr = 200 gr.

Add the sugar, cocoa powder and pinch of salt.

Bring the mixture in the saucepan over medium to high heat, whisking occasionally. When it comes to a boil, keep whisking continuously for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

Pour the hot liquid over the chocolate. Warning: If using a blender, take care not to exceed the allowed capacity for hot liquids.

Turn the blender on and blend for one full minute to homogenise the Sorbet Base.

Step 3 – Cool the Sorbet Base

Pour it in a bowl and let it cool down slightly. Stirring always helps it cool down faster.

Place in an ice bath and let cool completely.

How to prepare an ice bath

You will need a large bowl, larger than the bowl with the prepared ice cream base. Put in some ice cubes and cold water. Carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream base in it. Pour more cold water from the sides, till it reaches the ice cream base in the inner bowl in height. Take extra care not to spill any water into the ice cream base.

Alternatively, first nest the bowl with the ice cream base into the empty larger bowl. Fill the sides with ice cubes and cold water, taking care not to let any water spill into the bowl with the ice cream base. This is my preferred method, as sitting directly on the bottom of the bowl, rather than sitting on ice cubes, is more stable.

When the ice cream base has cooled, put a mesh strainer over a container and pour the sorbet base through the mesh strainer into the container.

Cover with a lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight to cool.

In a hurry? Here is how to speed things up:

If you want to bypass the overnight refrigeration process and churn the ice cream immediately, you can put the ice cream in a sealable bag, place it in a large container, fully cover it with ice and let it chill for a few hours ( it may take up to 3 hours to properly cool ).

The downside of this method is that you will need lots of ice. You will also need a thermometer to check if the temperature has reached the desired 4º C ( about 39º F ), which is the temperature your Sorbet Base would have, should you have put it in the fridge overnight.

Step 4 – Churn the Sorbet

Prepare the ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. With the machine running, pour the chilled sorbet base through the canister and into the ice cream machine. Let it churn until it thickens and has a stable body. In my ice cream machine, this takes 45 minutes. Note that sorbets, due to the lack of milk proteins, do not expand in volume. Your final sorbet when you remove the ice cream bowl from the machine, will be more like a thick slurry, instead of a fluffy ice cream.

Remove the machine from the ice cream bowl container and place the bowl -along with the sorbet-, covered with a lid, into the freezer. Leave for 4-5 hours for the ice cream to set properly, before serving or removing to another container.

Storing the Sorbet

To store the sorbet, you have to transfer it to another, sealable, container. To avoid melting, put the container you will use for storing in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. After 4-5 hours of churning, when the sorbet is fully set, transfer it to the sealable, ice cold container and store in the freezer.

This ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term.

To soften it before serving, remove from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator for half an hour.

It is at its best for one week in the freezer. After this, its texture starts to deteriorate. Discard after one month.

Ingredients notes:

Demerara sugar  is a variety of raw cane sugar and gives depth of flavour. You may use any kind of raw cane sugar you like, as long as it its light brown in colour.

Regular white sugar works well too, although it doesn’t help in building flavour.

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