Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chocolate Covered Cara Cara Oranges

This recipe is one of the easiest in my arsenal. It takes a modest investment of time and only 2 ingredients. You don't have to worry about exact measurements, and it's seasonally versatile.

Yes, these are simply oranges dipped in chocolate. That's it. However, when cut attractively, and when using the best possible fruit at the best possible time in that fruit's season with very very good chocolate, it's a stunning and delicious dessert. Also, it's always a crowd pleaser. Citrus is a great way to end a meal - especially in winter.

Cara cara oranges are at their peak right now. They're distinctively grapefruit-like in color on the inside, but with no bitterness and incredibly sweet and floral in flavor. I picked these up from Ken's Top Notch Produce stand at the Hollywood Farmers' market, but I've even seen Cara Cara's sold at Trader Joe's. Alternatively, you can use any citrus you like: tangerines, grapefruit (for that I omit the peel entirely when dipping in chocolate), pomelo, etc. You can also dip anything else in chocolate: strawberries, coconut, blackberries, pears, persimmons, and more.

The key is to be gentle with the chocolate when you heat it up - once it's melted take it off the heat and act fast. The second trick is to make sure the fruit isn't too damp or the chocolate won't stick. The third key is to lay the dipped chocolate flat on a lined baking sheet, and immediately chill the fruit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before you're ready to serve it.

Chocolate Covered Cara Cara Oranges
Serves 6

1-2 cups good quality dark or milk chocolate*
2 oranges, sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch thick circles and then into half moons
flake salt, to taste**

Start by slicing your fruit. If you do not want to have your guests deal with the peel, you can also just peel and segment the orange, but I prefer the look of the slices. Lay the orange slices over a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Add the chocolate to a double boiler (or a metal bowl placed on top of a simmering pot of water). Occasionally stir until chocolate is just melted. Turn off the heat, and carefully dip the orange slices so that they are halfway covered by the melted chocolate. Lay the dipped orange onto the lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt, if desired. Repeat until all of the oranges are dipped in chocolate.

* If using 2 cups of chocolate it will be easier to dip, but you might have extra chocolate at the end (sometimes I drizzle this over some cookies or other fruit). Also, for a glossier finish, you can add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the chocolate once it has just melted.

** I used Jacobsen Pinot Noir Flake Salt in this recipe. Alternatively you could sprinkle a little cayenne for heat, cinnamon for spice, or Turbinado sugar for extra sweetness 

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