Blood oranges. Succulent, fleshy and juicy blood oranges are such an indulgence that when I saw them I knew in my heart of hearts I had to take them home. I was at the market Dad and I go to every Saturday morning when I saw them on display front and center. Although we’re in Florida, blood oranges are not easily found. Grocery stores never carry them and even farmer’s markets are not wont to make them readily available. So when I stumbled upon them I doubled bagged and loaded up. I would figure out what I wanted to do with them later. Back at the house I let my wander on the different dishes I’d had that included citrus. Topping the list were two; sweet, poached blood oranges over a Greek cake with yoghurt and homemade rice pudding with nuggets of the fruit in a glossy syrup of blood orange juice. First I went for the cake. I have a basic cake recipe that I use often from Susanna Hoffman’s cookbook “The Olive and Caper” which is perfect for showcasing citrus. It is a simple, dense and satisfying cake which can easily be served by itself in wedges, eaten out of hand and always delights those who share it. Or it can be topped with fruits, syrup or icing. Either way it’s a great workhorse in your stable of desserts. It is one of those cakes which is better the following day. Later I decided to also candy some smaller pieces of oranges in lots of glistening syrup, make some individual Greek rice puddings and share them with my Greek school classmates. Next week is our last class of the year and we always bring treats to celebrate the upcoming summer break. So let’s get to it!
Sweet Poached Blood Oranges over Greek Yoghurt Cake
Sweet Poached Blood Oranges
- 2 blood or navel oranges, cut into 1/8″ slices, discard end pieces
- 1 lemon, cut into 1/8″ slices, discard end pieces
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup cool water
- Over medium heat put sugar and water in a medium pot. Stir until the sugar just dissolves then do NOT stir again or the syrup will form crystals and not turn out right.
- Gently slide in orange and lemon slices and softly press down so the fruit is completely covered by the syrup. If the fruit keeps floating back to the top place a small, heat-proof plate on top as a weight.
- Simmer softly for 20 minutes of until the edges of the fruit are becoming translucent.
- With a slotted spoon remove fruit and place on a tray lined with parchment paper to cool. Discard cinnamon stick and set syrup aside to use later.
- Line 10″ cake pan with parchment paper making certain to line the entire pan including sides. Very important so the cake comes out of the pan clean.
- Arrange the fruit slices on the parchment paper in the pan slightly overlapping until the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Remember, this is going to be the top of your cake so make it as pretty as you like.
- Set aside until cake batter is ready.
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven of 350°F.
- Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.
- Beat in the egg yolks all at once, then the yoghurt and zest.
- In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together, then sift them into the bowl with yoghurt mixture. Beat to mix well.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk half the whites into the batter mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are pulling away from the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.
- When the cake is cool, place your serving platter over the cake, invert and unmold it. Gently peel off parchment paper.
- Brush or spoon fruit syrup over orange slices. If you wish, reserve a bit of syrup to drizzle over individual slices or whipped cream when serving.
- Set aside for at least one hour before serving.
- The cake will keep for several days, covered and stored at room temperature.