Turning Oranges into Dessert

There is a certain simplicity that traditionally comes with winter cooking. Stews, soups, and roasts all have minimal ingredients. They are usually cooked over several hours (long and slow) reminiscent of meals being cooked over the woodstove akin to our ancestors. I love coming in from the cold to a house filled with the aromas and warmth of these comfort meals.
However, during these shortened days of winter, I can’t help but crave a little freshness, something bright and tangy, something to make light of these heavy warming meals. Recently, as my husband was busy in the kitchen making a big ol’ prime rib dinner with Yorkshire pudding (the recipe that his grandmother was famous for…I must admit she taught him well), I was flipping through magazines and cookbooks searching for a simple light dessert to accompany an otherwise stick-to-your-ribs English meal. Eureka! I found the answer, oranges served with plain yogurt and caramel sauce. This would give my family a hit of tangy Vitamin C to bolster our immune systems, accompanied by a shot of probiotics from fresh yogurt, and that melt-in-your-mouth caramel sauce to keep the dessert linked to the traditional warming foods of the season.
I am delighted to say the caramel oranges were a hit. My family raved about how fitting this dessert was for the end of a heavy meal. It was exactly what I had hoped for, a simple light sweetness that can add a bit of brightness to our otherwise heavy meal of winter.

Caramel Oranges

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
8-10 medium navel oranges (?2kg)
¾ cup maple crystals (or white sugar)
2 cinnamon sticks (or star anise pods)
2½ tablespoons salted butter

GARNISH
plain Greek yogurt
toasted pistachio nuts

PREPARATION

  1. Juice two (or more, if necessary) oranges, enough to yield ¾ cup juice and set aside.
  2. Slice the bottom and top off the remaining oranges. With the orange standing on the flat take a sharp knife and cut the peel off down the sides of the fruit taking away the pith (the white skin). Once peeled, turn the orange on it’s side and cut into thin rounds. Arrange slices in a 13×9-inch baking dish, slightly overlapping, in a single layer.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, ¼ cup of orange juice, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (approximately 2 to 3 minutes). Swirl the pan occasionally until the sugar begins to colour at the edges (about another 3 to 5 minutes), the bubbles will go from thin and frothy to thick and shiny.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is coppery brown (1 to 3 minutes). Remove pan from heat, add butter and whisk until melted.
  5. Add a splash of remaining orange juice and whisk until smooth. The mixture will steam and bubble vigorously. Then add the remaining orange juice and whisk until fully incorporated. If the caramel separates and sticks to the bottom of the pan, return it to the heat and simmer until the hardened caramel dissolves.
  6. Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, spoon desired amount
    of yogurt onto a dessert plate, using a slotted spoon transfer the oranges onto the plate as well. Spoon excess caramel sauce over the oranges
    and yogurt and top with roasted pistachios.
    Serve and enjoy.
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Tracy Stuart
As the fall colours make their debut and the vegetable garden gives us our last offerings, Tracy looks to the garden for inspiration. She tells us that her beets are absolutely gorgeous this time of year and their remarkable ability to boost athletic performance is a secret that must be shared. It’s been ten years since Tracy stood on the podium at the summer Olympics in Beijing; in this issue Tracy shares some of the science behind winning that comes from an unassuming vegetable, the beet!