I can't quite remember where I came up with this, but we served it to 175 people at our final project banquet when I was in UCLA's Principles of Cooking 5, back when the culinary program still existed there. Everyone raved about it (although the judges said it was too sweet for an intermezzo; you can always use less syrup).

For the syrup: combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Place a few sprigs of fresh rosemary into cheesecloth bag, add to the mixture, and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove herb bag and discard; chill.

In a bowl, combine the blood orange juice with about a cup or so of the rosemary syrup. Float a whole, uncracked egg (in its shell) in the mixture, and add syrup until the egg floats and shows about a nickel-sized area of shell above the surface [21mm, or .85 inches]. (Remove the egg, as it should go without saying.) Add the liqueur and salt, and freeze in an ice cream freezer until it is frozen but still soft. At this point, you may add egg whites for a silkier texture (see below). Otherwise, transfer into a container and freeze until firm.

(Optional step: Beat the egg whites until they are frothy. Return the mixture to a chilled stainless steel bowl, and thoroughly mix in the egg whites. Return the mixture to the ice cream freezer and freeze until firm.

YIELD: One quart, about 8 four-ounce servings


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)