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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.



cantaloupe melon & apple cider sorbet


8-12 portions or 1,5 liters


sorbet :

  • 1 kg (5 cups) melon flesh (about 1,25 kg before removing seeds, filaments and rind but save the seeds & filaments)
  • 200 grams (1 cup) golden cane sugar 
  • 50 grams (2 tbsp) liquid honey 
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice (save the empty rinds)
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) salt
  • 15-30 ml (1 -2 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • 240 ml (1 cup) sparkling apple cider (or use apple juice and orange juice)
  • 7,5 ml (½ tbsp) orange blossom water
  • optional : 30 ml (2 tbsp) apple brandy or melon liqueur

crystallized herb leaves garnish :

  • 2,5 grams (2 branches or 12 leaves) fresh basil 
  • 2,5 grams (2 branches or 12 leaves) fresh mint 
  • 30 grams (1 medium) egg white
  • 25 grams (2 tbsp) white granulated sugar


  • 24 hours before, place your ice cream/sorbet churner in the freezer (if you have one)
  • to make the crystallized mint and basil leaves, wash the leaves and dry them completely, beat the egg white (or shake it up in a little jar) until creamier and frothy (but not like a meringue) brush the egg white onto each leaf on both sides, coat each side with white sugar, place onto a piece of waxed paper to dry and crystallize overnight for 12 hours and ideally for 24 hours
  • slice the melon in half, remove the seeds and filaments but reserve them, scoop out the flesh and mix it with the lemon juice and sugar and salt and let sit for 1 hour to release its juices, reserve ¼ cup or 60 ml of this juice in a small pot
  • add the seeds filaments and the sliced empty lemon rinds to the juice in a small pot, heat at medium-high heat until it starts simmering, then lower immediately to medium heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let cool slightly, strain the liquid and add the apple cider vinegar and orange blossom water
  • in the large pan, simmer the chopped melon and its juices at medium heat for only 2-3 minutes to slightly break down the fruit, remove from heat, add the warm and strained liquid (from the seeds) to the cooked fruits, the honey, the sparkling apple cider and apple brandy or melon liqueur and let cool down
  • use a blender to purée everything into a smooth liquid, (if it seems too ‘jammy’ or ‘thickened’ slowly add some extra water or apple cider and keep blending until it seems closer to the consistency of a thick fruit sauce or ‘coulis’
  • when cool, transfer to an air-tight container and reserve in the refrigerator until chilled (6 hours or preferably overnight)
  • re-whisk the chilled mixture and churn for 45 minutes until well set and firmer and reserve in an air-tight container in the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight
  • note : if you don’t have a churner, then freeze the sorbet in the container and whisk/grate by hand every 45-60 minutes to break up the ice (repeat 3-4 times).
  • serve scoops of sorbet when firm and top with 2 crystallized basil and mint leaves …