Blood Orange Pudding
Gelo di arancia rossa
Alright, I will admit it. I am a nostalgia freak. Just over a year ago my hometown newspaper axed its stand alone Food Section. Doubtless a victim of the recession and changing reading habits, the Food Section of yore had breathed its last. From its glory days of over thirty pages, through the years the section became smaller, continuing the inexorable march to its current iteration as part of a Saturday lifestyle sampler.
Looking over my collection of LA Times recipes I came across one for Tangelo pudding. The Times’ recipe was adapted from Deborah Madison, fruit and vegetable guru. It sounded intriguing. One problem, though. No tangelos. However I have lots of blood oranges. The idea came to me, and it sounded very Italian – Gelo di arancia rossa. Why I did not think of making it before, I will never know. I’ve made everything else with blood oranges – cake, cocktails, fruit gelatin, gelato, panna cotta, salads, sorbetto and zabaglione. Italians love fruit puddings; perhaps the most famous is Gelo di anguria – Watermelon Pudding. (Think Palermo in summer.) These puddings are very simple affairs composed of fruit juice, sugar, and very often orange blossom, jasmine or rose water and thickened with cornstarch.
Blood oranges vary in sweetness. Taste the mixture as you heat it. You may wish to add more sugar. Puddings made from citrus can have a hard edge – the addition of butter will soften it. Don’t skip it. Top this one with some sweetened whipped cream to which you have added vanilla and orange extracts. The orange extract brings the whipped cream into harmony with the pudding. A generous dollop seals the deal.
This pudding will set up firmly enough to be unmolded, but I thought it would look particularly nice in tulips. Yes, tulips – the old-fashioned glassware used in American diners for sundaes and puddings. Until I was putting this together I did not even know they were called tulips, but Bart did. He worked at Carnation Ice Cream here in Los Angeles while he was in college. I love the soda jerk tech talk.
Blood Orange Pudding
makes 4 servings, just over ½ cup each
For the pudding:
zest of 3 blood oranges
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1-2 teaspoons orange blossom water, to taste
1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
For the whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
Place sugar and zest in mini-food processor and process until zest is finely ground or chop together finely. Place sugar, cornstarch and chopped zest in 2 quart saucepan and combine with whisk. Slowly pour blood orange juice into pan, whisking constantly.
Place over medium heat and bring to a hard boil. Decrease heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly, scraping the sides and bottom of pan until mixture thickens. Continue cooking one minute more.
Remove from heat, and pour into large strainer set over a 2 quart measuring cup. (The use of a measuring cup at this point will facilitate pouring the pudding into serving glasses.)
Add butter, orange blossom water and honey, stirring to combine. Divide among tulips or other serving glasses. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Top with sweetened whipped cream and serve.
Make whipping cream: combine ingredients for whipping cream, and beat until cream mounds softly.
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