I was in AIX-EN-PROVENCE where they make the original CALISSONS d’AIX. It’s a candy made of a thick layer of candied melon paste (and some candied citrus) and almond paste, flavored with some orange blossom water and then shaped like an oval eye or almond or a ‘weaving shuttle’ (but it actually represents the princess’ smile), underneath which is a paper-thin layer of azyme dough (like jewish matzah or the white part that often surrounds nougat) and coated with a layer of white royal frosting on top. It’s one of the flavors of the south. Originally, it’s the CAVAILLON cantaloupe melon which is used to make the candied fruit part and of which I brought back 2 small ones to Paris (with a box of calissons as a gift too from the Le Roy René calissons d’Aix).
Now a box of 18 of these candies weighing 235 grams costs about 16€ (or about 68€/kg) so I wasn’t planning on using them as an ingredient here and since it’s a sorbet, I was going to focus on the fresher flavors of melon and citrus and not use almonds which would work better for a creamier and richer ice cream (maybe it’ll be the next ice cream recipe, but that’s quite an expensive ice cream !).
I’m using the melon flavors as an inspiration for this recipe without using the “calissons d’aix”. In the meantime, I thought I would give it a little ‘punch’ with apple cider and apple cider vinegar which are not sweet and would help with the ‘refreshing’ quality of a sorbet but you could use apple and/or orange juice for an alcohol-free version.
I use the seeds and filaments and boil them with some of the released juice to increase the pectin content of the mixture and give it more body and the sugar-coated mint & basil leaves are a refreshing and crunchy additional herby accent only added at the end as garnish.
I LOVE THE SOUTH.
I LOVE PROVENCE in FRANCE . . . :)