food and wineIssue 31

In Season: Oranges

 By Ashley Stinson

Since the 1800s, oranges have been an essential flavor of the holiday season, alongside cloves and cinnamon. Although oranges have been cultivated in Asia for thousands of years, this bright little fruit only made it’s way across Europe in the 16th century. Europeans began to develop recipes that utilized the aromatic peel of the orange in teas and desserts. And in England, the fruit’s name replaced “yellow-red” as the word for the color, well, orange.

Around the world, oranges find their way into all kinds of dishes including cakes, frozen treats, mousses, and rich meat dishes. There are two main ways that orange is utilized: either the peel, which is full of fragrant oils, is utilized for flavoring, as is common in many kinds of cakes and tarts; or slices of the fruit are simmered or juiced for sauces. The peel or zest is a good way to add citrus flavor without adding acidity to the dish, and can be safely used in milk and cream where orange juice might curdle the liquid. The tart acidity of the juice, on the other hand, makes a great addition to savory sauces where it can also provide a touch of sweetness.

Although once considered an exotic holiday treat, in modern America oranges are found year round, whether in the form of orange juice, thinly grated orange zest, or as the fresh, whole fruit. Orange marmalade remains a staple on grocery store jam shelves, and is made by boiling the fruit and peel with sugar and pectin. Candied orange peel often shows up around the holidays, and can be eaten on its own, dipped in chocolate, or used to garnish other desserts.


 

SICILIAN ORANGE CAKEIngredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large orange, whole
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter and flour an 8” springform pan, or line with oiled parchment paper.

Wash your orange and cut it into pieces, removing any seeds. Place orange pieces into a food processor or blender and process until whole orange is finely chopped.

In a bowl, place eggs and 1 ¼ cup of sugar. Beat until the color lightens and the mixture becomes fluffy. Sift in flour and baking powder. Add butter and fold together until just combined. Mix in yogurt, again stirring until just combined. Add orange puree and once again mix until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until surface is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is cooking, combine orange juice and remaining sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together and cook until sugar dissolves and liquid thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Brush this glaze over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.


ORANGE SPICE COCOAIngredient:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbl freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 Tbl ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Directions:

In a bowl, combine cocoa powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon and cloves with a whisk until mixture is lump-free.

Pour milk into a saucepan and add orange zest. Heat pan on medium-low until milk becomes hot to the touch, or until close to simmering. Do not allow to reach a boil.

Add cocoa mixture and whisk together until smoothly incorporated into milk. Continue to stir for one minute and then remove from heat. Pour into cups and garnish with whipped cream or marshmallows if desired.

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