Living in southern Spain, we are surrounded by orange orchards. From Christmas time to the end of March, the trees are laden down with oranges, lemons, limes and tangerines.
The oranges in this area are sweet, unlike the more bitter ones grown around Seville which are often used for making marmalade.
I’m always on the look-out for recipes using oranges, and picked up this one from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s column in the Guardian.
Orange Mousse with Caramelised Oranges
3 large oranges
200g cream cheese
200g caster sugar
2 large egg whites
200ml double cream
Finely grate the zest of the oranges into a large bowl, add the cream cheese and 50g of the sugar, and beat until soft and thoroughly combined.
Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form. Keep beating, adding another 50g of sugar gradually, until you have a glossy meringue. Lightly fold this into the cream cheese. Lightly whip the cream, just until soft peaks form, and fold this in, too. Spoon the mousse into tumblers, wine glasses or sundae dishes, and chill for several hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, prepare the oranges. Slice all the peel and pith away from all three oranges. Now slice the segments out from between the membranes, working over a bowl to catch the segments along with any juice. Strain the juice from the bowl – you need about 50ml, so squeeze out a little more from the membranes if you don’t have enough.
Put the remaining 100g of sugar in a small pan with 50ml water (if you use white caster sugar, it’s easier to see the colour of the caramel; it’s also easier if you use a stainless-steel pan rather than a black-based one). Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes until the syrup caramelises. As soon as it is golden brown, take it off the heat and, taking great care, pour in the reserved orange juice. It will bubble and spit violently. Stir it as it boils to work the caramel and the orange juice together into a smooth syrup. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then combine with the orange segments (if you’ve left it longer and the syrup has thickened up, don’t worry: it will loosen as you combine it with the juicy oranges). Cool to room temperature, then chill.
Just before serving, spoon the caramelised oranges and their juices on top of the orange mousse.