Wednesday, July 14, 2010

0 Recipe #138: Frosted Oranges (Oranges Givrées)

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Here's a French classic -- frosted oranges, or oranges givrées. They are a popular summertime treat in France. Mention orange givrée to someone who grew up there, and most will think of their childhood and also quite possibly the beach. :)

This dessert would be best compared to orange sorbet or sherbet (if eggs &/or other dairy products are added), except that it is served in a hollowed out orange shell. There are many different variations, but most consist of an orange, lemon juice, a sweetener of some kind (usually sugar), & sometimes also a meringue (egg whites) &/or a dairy product like crème fraîche, condensed milk, or yoghurt. There are also versions with additional ingredients like vanilla sugar, &/or orange-flavored liqueur, or some combination thereof.

Of course, the below recipe is a much healthier version -- sans crème fraîche and the like -- which still tastes incredibly rich. When you take a bite of it, you'll find it hard to believe that it doesn't contain any refined sugar or fat! Trust me, it's sooooo good. :)

Frosted Oranges (Oranges Givrées)

Light and sweet, orange givrée will cleanse the palate between courses or provide the perfect finish to a meal.

6 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/8 c. honey
4 large navel oranges, washed with pulp removed & juiced (4 c. juice)
orange juice (from a container)
2 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 c. nonfat plain Greek yoghurt

Directions: Cut off the tops (about 3/4") of four navel oranges & completely scoop out all the flesh with a grapefruit spoon. Scrape each orange clean until you reach the pith (white part) of the orange, being very careful not to tear the hulls as you hollow them out. (It helps to scoop a little cone out from the middle and then expand/work your way out from the center.) Using a toothpick, poke a hole through the top of each orange "hat," i.e., where the stem was once attached. Put the shells and the "hats" you just created into the freezer. (They can be frozen for a few days if the sorbet isn't served on the same day).

Either squeeze the extracted pulp with your hands or put the pulp into a blender to extract the juice & pulse until pulp has been broken up into little bits. Then strain pulp through a sieve, collecting the juice in a blender. Measure the juice: You'll need to produce about 1 c. of juice per orange, or 4 cups total. If there is less, supplement with orange juice to make 4 cups.

Pour lemon juice and honey into a sauce pot, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium, stirring continually with a wooden (or heat-proof) spoon, and simmer until honey has completely dissolved and the mixture forms a syrup, about 2 minutes. Cool. To save time, you can submerge the pot in an ice bath, putting it inside a larger pot filled with ice & cold water. Then pour the syrup into the bowl containing the orange juice. Add yoghurt & mix in the blender until frothy.

In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Transfer meringue to the blender with the juice mixture and pulse for about a minute, or until you get a very creamy, frothy consistency.

Transfer to ice cube trays (or if you don't have multiple ice cube trays, use a large, deep metal tray) and freeze for a minimum of 2-3 hours. Remove sorbet from freezer. Allow frozen mixture to soften ever so slightly, for about 10 minutes or so. 

Using a teaspoon, scrape out sorbet from tray(s). (If sorbet is still hard, you can also add them back to the blender & pulse just a tiny bit.) Fill each (empty) orange shell with sorbet, pressing down firmly after each scoop is added. Make sure each shell is well packed with sorbet; the sorbet should overflow a bit from each shell, forming a slight dome. Place the caps back onto the tops of the orange shells and put the sherbet-filled oranges back into the freezer until you're ready to serve them.

Just before serving, remove the frosted oranges from the freezer and garnish each frosted orange with mint sprigs, threading each sprig through the holes you'd created for each orange "hat."

You can serve immediately or freeze for later. The frosted oranges will keep for about a week in the freezer.

Yield: Makes 4 frosted oranges.

Chef's Notes: Navel oranges work best because they are seedless & have a thick skin. Appropriately enough, the French call the tops of the hollowed out orange shells chapeaux, or hats. :)

Serving Suggestions: Serve with ladyfingers or macaroons.

Variations: For a little kick, add a dash of vanilla, or a few splashes of orange-flavored liqueur like Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Curaçao, or triple sec into your orange juice mixture before freezing.

The oranges in this recipe can also be substituted with other citrus fruits like (large) lemons or limes, or even grapefruits. However, please note that the amounts of the other ingredients in this recipe will have to be adjusted accordingly, as their tartness varies and will need to be offset with additional ingredients (like water). The water can of course be added to the lemon juice & honey during the syrup-making step.

Although I've not yet tried the recipe with grapefruits or limes, I can tell you the approximate proportions for the frosted lemons (citrons givrés):

1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (the juice of about 2 large lemons)
1 egg white, room temperature
2 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yoghurt
3 Tbsp. honey
1/2 c. water

Yield: 4 ices (?).

Chef's Notes: If you're going to make the frosted lemons, please be advised that the above measurements may need to be adjusted slightly as I've only made the frosted lemons once and don't remember the exact amounts. At some point, I will retest the proportions and probably revise them a bit. I might even list the frosted lemons as a separate recipe in the future. Until then, you'll want to proceed carefully and be conservative about amounts when adding your ingredients. Better to add a little bit and then taste after each addition before the next adjustment. :)

Also you'll want to slice off about 3/4" from the tops of the lemons, and about a 1/2" from the bottom -- to stabilize them, so that they stand on their own. Take special care to level off the bottom in an even fashion, or you might find the sherbet-filled lemons to be a bit wobbly. :)

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