Sadly, it’s over. Here is the last of this year’s citrus I ordered from an organic farm in Sicily a few days ago. The fruit was picked and shipped that same day. It won’t be until late next fall when the days get shorter and Christmas approaches that we will see this wonderful fruit from Italy’s southernmost region’s in the markets again.
Here is what I am doing with the oranges…
Peeling and Juicing. The juice I freeze in silpat molds and the peels I dehydrate for use year round.
Citrus Paste for the freezer. We will use this in the pastry and the sweet kitchen all year. Essentialy this is raw orange marmelade. Take 1 whole orange and blend it with an equal weight of honey to make a paste. We substitute this when fresh peel or citrus juice are called for in any recipe or as a marinade for pork, duck or game birds.
Orange Powder. I make this in the blender with the dehydrated peel and use it for garnish, add it to muffin and cake batter, gelato, sorbet, chocolate truffles, anything you can think of.
Orange Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Orange Peel marry well in this oil that has both sweet and savory applications in our ktichens. Preheat the oven to 80 ° C. Layer the peel from 2 or 3 organic oranges in a terrine or oven proof baking dish and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, if you use sous vide then place the peel and the oil in a cooking bag and seal. Cook at 80° C for 3 hours.
Puree the oil/peel mixture and then let the oil drain into a container through a fine sieve. Discard the peel or save it for baking. The orange oil will keep for a week or more in the fridge. We use it to finish risotto, drizzle it over our head cheese, blood sausage, roast rabbit loins, duck breast, etc.
Fruit Wallpaper. A recipe from our latest book, Dinamica.
Not only does this frozen-fruit gelatin look gorgeous but it has a very practical function. We serve cold desserts like panna cotta, gelato, frozen bombes and semifreddi on top of a thin slice of fruit wallpaper to prevent them from slipping and sliding around on the plate as they are carried to the table. At Petraia our fruits change seasonally. In early spring we use a mixture of different-coloured citrus—red blood oranges, yellow and pink grapefruits and oranges. In early summer we have strawberries and stone fruits like plums, apricots and peaches. Later in the summer we use blackberries, currants, melons and pears. Be careful not to use kiwis or pineapple, which do not like gelatin. You will need a meat slicer for this recipe.
YOU WILL NEED
400 g fruit—citrus segments, whole strawberries, berries, melon slices or cubes, peach slices, etc.
10 g sheet gelatin
1 cup fruit juice—ideally the same kind as the fruit you are using above
60 to 70 g sugar
Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place the fruit in the pan. Soften the gelatin in cold water. Bring the juice and sugar to a boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved. Pour over the fruit and freeze. Using a meat slicer, slice thinly onto sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and return to the freezer until you are ready to plate.