All right, now that the Siberian cold snap that dropped by for a surprise visit last week is finally easing up on the pressure again, temperatures and the current color scheme of the great outdoors are giving off distinct signs of Spring slowly nosing its way in.
The first die-hard t-shirt wearers are swarming the first re-opened outdoor-spaces of cafés and bars around town and the usual frosty suspects in our market’s displays are bowing out one by one – it’s definitely time to drop the curtains on the wintery variety of sweets in our kitchen with one last bow to the brightest-colored gems of Winter, the Tangerine. Not only is this light and fluffy quick-fix one of those not-too-sweet desserts perfectly capable of cutting through and thereby dotting the I on a punchy winter feast – with Winter’s End just around the corner, this yumtastic end to a meal also serves the purpose of highlighting the perks of the past season, closing it with a fond memory and leaving us with something to look forward to for the next year. Here we go~
The Spiced Tangerines
4 Tangerines, carefully skinned and filleted – if the tangerines in front of you are of the very thin-skinned variety, you can probably save yourself the grief of filleting them into skin-free fillets. Just make sure to remove the white pith around the outside to keep the whole deal from taking on a bitter note.
Lots of Patience to keep the peels whole while undressing and filleting the fruit – you could, of course cheat a bit and use a couple of extra tangerines to turn into containers for the cream~ (<insert conspiratorial whisper here> or cheat all the way and use tinned ones)
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Pinch of Ground Cloves
1 Pinch of Ground Star Anise
1 Pinch of Allspice
1 Pinch of Nutmeg
1 Pinch of finely ground Black Pepper
3-4 Drops of Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Liquor 43
Shortcut: Scrap the spices and simply macerate the fruit with 1 tbsp of Liquor 43 and 1 Tsp of Brown Sugar
1) Place the spices and liquids in a mixing bowl and whisk the lot until the sugar has dissolved completely.
2) Gently fold in the tangerine segments, cover the bowl with clingfilm and place it in the fridge to macerate until you’re ready to plate up.
The Marzipan Cream
200ml Low Fat Milk
150ml Low Fat Cream
150g Low Fat Greek Yoghurt
200g Marzipan, finely diced
3 Tbsp Crushed Hazelnuts, lightly toasted – 2 for the cream, 1 for deco
4 Leaves Gelatine
½ unwaxed Tangerine, Zest
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier, Liquor 43 or Cointreau – if your booze cabinet looks a bit like mine – the word “stepchild” comes to mind… – you probably won’t have more than one, if any, of these in there, so here’s a shopping tip: I’ve recently discovered shot-sized bottles of Cointreau and Grand Marnier in the baking section of well-sorted supermarkets, right next to other liqueurs commonly found in baked goods and desserts.
Opt: 2-3 Drops of Orange Extract
Opt: for an even more wintery note, add a tsp of gingerbread spices to the mix
1) Whip up the cream with your handheld whip-o-matic until soft peaks remain standing where you’ve pulled out the whisks. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and stash it away in the fridge for the time being.
2) Add the gelatine leaves to a small bowl and cover them with cold tap water. Allow the leaves to soften for roundabout 5 mins.
3) In the meantime, pour the milk into a small pot and place it on medium-low heat. Leave the milk to work up a gentle simmer, then add the marzipan cubes.
4) Gently whisk the mixture until the marzipan has completely dissolved into the milk.
5) Remove the pot from the heat and add the booze of your choice along with the tangerine zest.
6) Grab the gelatine leaves and squeeze out as much excess water as you can, then quickly stir them into the warm milk-marzipan mixture.
7) Once the mixture starts to thicken, stir in the yoghurt, then pop the pot into the fridge for a cooldown of about 20-30 mins – have an eye on the contents of your pot from time to time, you’ll need it to be cooled off but not yet set for the next step.
8) So, once the mixture has set into an almost chilled, creamy substance after 20-30 mins in the fridge, gently fold in the whipped cream and the toasted nuts.
9) Fill the result of your efforts into the emptied tangerine skins or into pretty dessert dishes. Layering them into sundae glasses would be an option, too.
10) Place the cream in the fridge for 4-5 hours to chill through and set.
Assembling the Dish
1) Retrieve the glasses/stuffed tangerines from the fridge and top the servings off with a layer of decoratively arranged tangerine slices and a couple of lemon balm leaves.
2) If you went with the tangerine option, you might consider dusting the surface with a bit of brown sugar and going Crème Brûlée on them with a blowtorch instead.
3) Tip your hat to Winter’s Finest in farewell, grab a spoon and…