Monday, February 14, 2011

There Were Sour Oranges

"Want tiny sour oranges?", texted Lena late one afternoon. "Of course!", I texted back. Who would have thought she was going to become my best produce supplier this winter. "Where did you get them?", I asked. I was curious to know who had this sour orange tree. Even though they are indigenous, it is hard to find them these days. They came from one of her friends' tree down in Boca Raton and they had more than what they knew what to do with.

"I will take them all!"

I have been working non-stop on the draft of the first chapter of the book. I finally turned it in this weekend and I am anxious to hear what my editor has to say. I am not going to lie, I doubt myself every time I have to decide what makes it into the book and what doesn't. It can be quite a lonely process. A rewarding one, of course, but lonely nonetheless.

So in between testing recipes and shooting, I decided to take a break and stop by Lena's to pick up the sour oranges. They were so tiny and fragrant. Very, very sour indeed.

I came home and started talking to my mom about what to make with them. "Marmalade", she said. Of course she said marmalade. She is the largest consumer of marmalade I know. But I wanted something different to share with Lena and her family. I opted for a classic almond cake and I took it to her the following day. I think they enjoyed it.

"I feel like something with a pudding-like texture", my mom suggested Sunday morning as she was looking at the sour oranges we had left on the counter. I remembered last year's tangerine and pistachio cake. The tangerines were cooked whole in water until tender and then pureed into a paste. I thought I could use that same technique with the sour orange and make a quick cake with it.

We planned to go to the farmers' market so I decided to cook the sour oranges before heading out the door and finish it afterwards.

We came back from the farmers' market with spinach, turnips, leeks and many more of our usuals. Mom made a quick soup with the spinach, turnips, leeks, carrots and potatoes and in the meantime, I baked these cakes with the sour orange puree, coconut and almond flour, coconut oil and the eggs from Farriss farm. A one bowl recipe. So quick and delicious. It has a very light, moist texture. A cross between a cake and a pudding.

After lunch, we sipped mint and tarragon tea and nibbled on the glazed tea cakes. A quick nap and then an afternoon stroll with M. while J. and C. had a boys day out.

And so, that was our Sunday. Easy.

Glazed Sour Orange and Coconut Pudding Cakes

Makes 2 dozen canneles or 1 8.5"x4.5" loaf pan

1 lb (450 gram)s small sour oranges or kumquats
3 eggs
1 cup (200 grams) natural cane sugar
1/2 cup (150 grams) coconut oil, melted
1 vanilla beans, split
1/2 cup (60 grams) coconut flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
3 Tbs (30 grams) tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Place the sour oranges in a medium pot and cover them with water. Cook them covered for an hour or until tender. Drain the water and place the oranges in a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, open them with your fingers and remove and seeds. Transfer the juice and the flesh to a food processor or blender and puree to a fine paste.

Measure 1 cup (300 grams) of puree into a bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and melted coconut oil. Whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and fold.

Scoop into a greased loaf pan or into individual molds. Bake at 350F for about 18-20 minutes for small molds and 45-50 minutes for the loaf pan. Insert a clean toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before unmolding.

Orange glaze

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup orange juice

Whisk them until it forms a fluid glaze. Pour over warm cakes.

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