Flash! Bam! Alakazam ... wonderful you came by.
That's how I feel about oranges in the winter. They brighten. Heighten - taste, sun, sweetness, tang. Alakazam! That's especially how I feel about orange sweets! Wham! Bam! I am obsessed with finding a recipe for these orange crisps that I had at the Forno Campo de'Fiori in Rome. We stumbled on the small bakery and somehow I managed to "stumble" upon that bakery every afternoon when we were in Rome. Serendipity?
I haven't found the right "orange crisp" recipe. But I have been devouring orange treats. I am calling it research. And much tastier research than the year I have spent seeking information on the North Pole and Siberia. Given the arctic winter* here - I probably would have been better researching the tropics.
*Note: In the last two days it was warmer in Siberia than in Minnesota. I researched.
I found this Sicilian Orange Cake from Mary One Perfect Bite blog. It's sort of an orange sponge cake. Just sweet enough. More importantly, it is citrusy enough. Bright enough. Sharp enough to cut through winter. When it occurs in the spring. I think of it as a snack cake. And a fruit serving. And a reward for donning six layers of clothes just to go get the mail. It's my way of fantasizing that I am in a Sicilian orange grove.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice (I used a wee bit more)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons
1-1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2%)
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
confectioner's sugar for dusting (I skipped that - I squirted orange juice over it - I am serious about citrus)
Mary states that preparation is fifteen minutes. I dutifully got out all my ingredients, zested and squeezed the orange and had the flour, salt and baking powder sifted in a bowl. Waiting to be transformed into cake.
When it happened.
You see that little thing below with an out-of-control Maine-coon cat tail?
He looks so innocent. doesn't he? After I squeezed the orange, I turned around and that little innocent feline was sitting in the bowl of flour. Splashing. No, there are no photos. All I could see was the flour being dragged through the home, over the piano, up the stairs and through the bedrooms. He has a lot of fur. And it had a lot of flour.
So my prep took considerably longer. Luckily, he likes water (he missed a cat gene somewhere along the line). So he got scrubbed and everything else did also.
(Not counting cleaning the cat, washing the kitchen and redoing the ingredients.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper; grease and flour it.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs, sugar, zest and juice. Combine olive oil and milk (Mary suggests in a 2 cup measurement.) Whisk it into the egg mixture. In a medium bowl sift flour, salt and baking powder. (I throw it all in the bowl and whisk it.) In three parts, fold it into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes until done. (Mine took 35 minutes. The edges got wonderfully crackled but the inside was still mixture - so do the toothpick test all over to make sure all is cooked.) Cool in pan for ten minutes. Invert on to cooling rack till cooled. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Or not.
It's all sunshine and light - which is what you want on March 20th - something springy and spongy - all sunbeams and light and Sicilian dreams.
In my search for the orange cookies from Rome, I came across these. They're not what I was looking for but I didn't mind. They were good. I'd skip the icing/glaze though. They're just sweet enough.
They're from Taste of Home and the link to the recipe is here.
I used Blood Oranges. Cause I could.
I haven't figured out how to cook with Luce yet. I never had a cat so determined to "help." "Like a bird with a French fry," says my daughter.
Or a kitten with a Cheeto. (For the record that's my sister allowing Luce a Cheeto. I don't do that stuff - heaven forbid.)
In case you're in an orange mood... alakazam! It's spring!