What to do with Winter Citrus?
by Tom Yates
No sooner had I drop-kicked the last of the ham and turkey into the back of the freezer than our annual crate of citrus bombs arrived on the front stoop. Individually wrapped, the grapefruits and oranges were a welcome respite to the relentless weeks of holiday fare.
While most of them get squeezed into perky pulpy mimosas, greyhounds, or salty dogs, I always have great fun gussying up the stragglers.
I grew up on broiled grapefruit. You know, the standard halved grapefruit sprinkled with sugar and scorched under the broiler? Although fantastic and familiar, I took a different route with this year’s citrus bounty.
I sliced the thick skin off of each end of two pink grapefruits, stood them on end, and trimmed the skin from top to bottom (making sure to remove all the bitter pith). After slicing them into half inch discs, I sprinkled them with sugar and slid them under the broiler. As they started to char and caramelize, I pulled the slices from the oven and stacked them into individual bowls. While they were still warm, I drizzled them with local honey and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
A refreshing take on an old school standard.
Bye bye bourbon balls.
See you next year chocolate bark.
Gluten free Orange Almond Cake.
Honestly, I didn’t intend to go all gluten free. It just happened. An accidental win. Aside from a wee bit of advanced planning, it came together like a piece of cake. Because I’m not much of a baker, the simple ingredients made it very forgiving and almost fool proof.
I filled a stock pot with cold water, plopped two large navel oranges into the pot, and cranked the heat to high. When the water came to a boil, I reduced it to a simmer, covered the pot, and let the oranges steep at gentle ripple for 2 hours before scooping them out to cool. After slicing the oranges in half, I tumbled them into a food processor (skin, pith, pulp, and flesh) and blitzed the hell out of them before sliding the pure orange puree into the refrigerator to chill.
Using a hand-held mixer, I blended 3 whole eggs with 1 cup of sugar. When the mix formed pale sugary ribbons, I added 3 cups almond meal/flour (ground almonds), 1 teaspoon of gluten free baking powder, a pinch of salt, and the reserved orange puree.
After buttering the bottom and sides of a spring form pan, I scooped the batter into the pan, leveled the top, tapped it a few times to settle the batter, and slid it into a 350 degree preheated oven to bake for 1 hour, give or take a few minutes. When the top was golden brown and the center cleared the tooth pick check, I pulled the cake from the oven, released it from the spring form pan, and settled it onto a wire rack.
While the cake cooled, I made a simple syrup by simmering 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and 3 tablespoons sugar. When the orange simple syrup reduced to a glaze, I poked several holes into the cake with a skewer and spooned the glaze over the top before finishing with delicate strips of fresh orange zest.
Flecked with bits of peel and pulp, the cake was surprisingly light and incredibly moist. Without being cloyingly sweet, it packed intense orange flavor grounded by the subtle nuttiness of almonds.
This story originally appears on page 13 of the Jan 2016 issue of Ace.
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