To my loyal readers: Southern Fried French may go from weekly to every other week for a bit, during winter travels, unless I am extremely disciplined, which seems unlikely.
Candied orange slices and candied orange peel: classic French confections for the fruit-loving French. You’ll see them in all the chocolateries, and often they take a little dip in a chocolate bath. For fans of this dessert, they inspire great devotion; I have a friend who comes to Paris often, and she always makes a beeline to the chocolate shop first thing to get them.
Moi, I was never really fond of them. That is, until I made them chez nous, for my husband, another fan. I found a great recipe for them at The Repressed Pastry Chef. Instead of cooking them the usual way, simmered in a bath of sugar water until they’re soft, she cooks them in a single layer in a skillet, boiling the water down to a thick, bubbly syrup until the slices are a bit caramelized. Easy to make and amazingly yummy. Healthy too, right?
So last week, in need of a fruity finish for Thanksgiving (to go with the other three desserts), and in possession of a large sack of fat Spanish oranges, I thought about putting these candied oranges in a pie. I decided to make one of those pretty, thin French fruit tarts, but topped with the oranges in place of the usual apples or apricots. Instead of serving it with cream, I put the cream underneath, a thin layer of sweetened marscapone.
The tart must have been a success, as it disappeared quickly. Even if you don’t make the tart, do try the candied orange slices. They’re as easy as, well, pie!
RECIPE: Candied Oranges, Tarted Up
First make the oranges from Marlena's blog, The Repressed Pastry Chef. You should slice them as thin as you can (thinner than mine); if not they’ll still be good but it will make the tart a bit of a challenge to cut.
Since Marlena makes these in a single layer in a skillet, I had to make several batches, (which was no problem since I was in the kitchen all morning anyway). If you want to do them all at once, try the recipe at Chocolate and Zucchini, which is faster but they will not be as caramelized. Here we go:
- 1 prepared or homemade baked crust for a single pie, baked in a Tart Pan with Removable Bottom (use Pie Weights when you bake crust).
- 4 or 5 oranges, sliced thin (leftovers will be a good thing)
- 1 cup marscapone cheese
- 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cook the oranges with one of the recipes mentioned above, cooling them on parchment paper. Cut them in half with scissors (for Marlena's recipe, I cut them in half after cooking, I find they keep their shape better. But you'll get more in the pan if you cut slices in half before cooking). Mix the marscapone with the sugar and vanilla and spread in the bottom of the the cooled tart shell. Top with oranges slices, overlapping. Chill and serve.
In the COMMENTS: we're still talking about tea, and Susan, thanks for enlightening me on cool-weather grasses.
Favorite Reads: I'm very pleased to announce that TWO of our readers have new books out this week. Debbie Ambrous has released A French Opportunity, her memoir of a long and eventful voyage that takes her from small-town Alabamba to France. Clair Symonds' book Romance and Revolution: A Leap of Faith at the Iranian National Ballet is a memoir about a Jewish ballet dancer who falls in love with a Muslim, much to his family’s dismay (I’m planning on loading up a Kindle copy, but it’s out in paperback as well). Ido, you’ll be happy to hear that Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log (40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds.) will be out in paperback sometime this month---I’ll let y'all know.
For DYI Interior Decorators: Just a little tip for those of you who like the decorating arts as much as I do. I came across this Designer’s Cheat Sheet at the Honey & Fitz blog, and immediately loaded it onto my ipad. If you’re decorating a house, you’ll love having bed and table dimensions, pillow lay-outs, and more; and don’t miss the upholstery yardage chart. My vote for most useful freebie of the year!