Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oranges two ways - with help from another

A zested Cara Cara
I'm working to expand my orange awareness by trying new varieties this season. It's hard to imagine I'll find another type as perfect as the satsuma - then again, a birthday delivery of juicy Honeybells is expected next week.

Still, I spied a display of Cara Cara's at the market this week. The pinkish-red flesh and fresh flavor of these distinctive California navels have captivated many food writers lately, so I bought two with the idea of making curd - which, to my mind, naturally leads to making a batch of airy meringues.

I rely on a lovely and simple curd recipe suitable for canning by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I had just enough juice for a double batch, which comes together quickly thanks to her foolproof directions. The result is a sunny curd flecked with bursts of bright orange zest.

I base the cookies on the Lemon Meringue Clouds posted on Food52. I tweaked it the second time around to mix the vivid zest into the egg white mixture at the last moment - the damp zest looked clumpy scattered on the surface and dried to an unappealing dark tone. Since I didn't have orange extract, I used my satsuma triple sec (made with advice from the always clever @MrsWheelbarrow - details to come) and sprinkled them lightly with my own satsuma dust to tint the puffy meringues and punch up the flavor.

Note: The recipe says they'll last in an air-tight container for up to four days, but I can almost guarantee not a single one will be found in my house by sundown tomorrow.

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