06 February 2011


Are you watching the Super Bowl today? Will you be eating salsa and guacamole? I know I will.

I hope that you, like me, find that the weeks after the Super Bowl leave you starved for salsa and guacamole, because we made a batch of Mike's Famous Salsa last night ... a few days too late to offer it to you for your Super Bowl party.

Instead, I decided to offer you orange cream. Blood orange cream, to be precise. Lest you think that this might be some sort of wimpy flavored Chantilly or boring custard, let me explain.

This orange cream, adapted from yet another Dorie Greenspan recipe, is similar to an orange curd, with juice, zest, eggs, sugar, and butter. However, to make the cream you cook all of the ingredients together except the butter. The slightly cooled custard is then whizzed in the blender with the butter, creating a creamy, emuslified, rich-yet-deceptively light cream.

This recipe could hardly be more versatile. Spread it in a tart crust; spread it between macarons; smear it over toasted English muffins or freshly-baked scones; layer it in an entremet; eat it from the bowl while standing in front of the fridge: spoon optional.

The only unusual thing about this (and some other citrus recipes) is the instruction to rub the zest into the sugar. I encountered these instructions in several books and have decided that it does help distribute the citrus oils (and therefore flavor) throughout the dish, but feel free to omit that step if desired.

Blood Orange Cream
Adapted from yet another Dorie Greenspan recipe.
Note: if you do not or cannot eat gelatin, I think this recipe would be fine without it; the next time I make it I will try it without and report back.

1 scant cup granulate sugar
zest of 3 blood oranges
zest of 1 lemon (preferably Meyer)
4 extra large eggs
¾ cup fresh blood orange juice (from 3-5 good-sized blood oranges)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
10 ounces (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, in pieces and at room temperature

You will need a strainer, a blender or food processor, and a good digital thermometer handy.

Choose a bowl that fits snugly into one of your pots; bring water to a simmer in that pot (the water should be just below the bottom of the bowl. Measure the sugar into the bowl and zest the fruit directly into the bowl; rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar is moist (it should smell heavenly). Whisk in the eggs and the two juices.

Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water and start whisking as soon as it is beginning to warm. Cook the cream, whisking constantly, until the temperature reaches 180ºF (it will lighten as you whisk and will start to thicken shortly before it reaches the correct temperature). The heating process can take as long as 10-15 minutes.

Pour the hot cream through the strainer into the blender, pressing all of it through with a spatula; discard the solids. Bloom the gelatin with the cold water in a little bowl, then add to the cream, cover, and carefully (it's still hot) pulse briefly to blend. Uncover and let cool to 140ºF, 5-10 minutes.

Cover the blender again and turn the speed to high. Using the little hold in the blender lid, add the butter in 4 or 5 additions, letting the butter become completely absorbed before adding more. When the butter is added, blend for a full three minutes (I do it in 1-minute intervals, scraping and giving the machine a rest for a few seconds in between.

Transfer to a bowl, press plastic wrap against the cream and refrigerate until well chilled.

Whisk well to loosen before using.

Makes about 3 cups (enough to fill a standard 9 inch tart pan)

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