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Archive for January 29, 2015

TIP OF THE DAY: Citrus As A Cake Garnish Or Base

With a limited offering of sweet fresh fruit during the winter, turn to seasonal citrus to dress your desserts.

Angel cake, cheesecake, olive oil cake, pound cake, sponge cake: all are highly receptive to a garnish of citrus segments (or, depending on how you look at it, a citrus fruit salad).

In addition to cheery color, if you use the citrus as a base you can place a smaller piece of cake atop a larger amount of fruit.

Go for a blend of color—rosy blood oranges, pink cara cara oranges, conventional oranges, pink or red grapefruits (with perhaps some white grapefruit for contrast). You can also add some kumquats and something from the Mandarin group: clementines, satsumas, tangelos and tangerines.

Cut some of the fruits into disks, and supreme others into segments. “Supreme” is the term that refers to removing the skin, pith, membranes and seeds of a citrus fruit and separating it into segments (wedges). Here’s a YouTube video showing you how to do it.

One note: You may not want your cake sitting in the citrus juices. If so, be sure to drain the citrus well—but save those delicious juices and drink them or add them to a vinaigrette.

   

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Create a colorful citrus garnish for plain cakes. Photo of olive oil cake courtesy Frog
Hollow Farm.

 

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I am not an orange: I’m a mandarin! Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

 

FOOD 101: THE MANDARIN IS NOT AN ORANGE

A mandarin is erroneously called “mandarin orange”, but the two are separate species. Even Produce Pete calls clementines and mandarins “oranges,” so do what you can to spread the truth.

There are three basic citrus types—citron, mandarin and pummelo—from which all modern citrus derives via hybrids or backcrosses.

While they look like small oranges and are often called “mandarin oranges,” mandarins are a separate species that includes the clementine, mineola (red tangelo), murcott (also called honey tangerine), tangelo, temple and satsuma, among others.

  • Oranges are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae, genus Citrus and species C. × sinensis. They are believed to have originated in southern China and northeastern India. They were first cultivated in China around 2500 B.C.E.
  • Mandarins are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae and genus Citrus but differentiate at the species level: C. reticulata. Reticulata, Latin for reticulated, refers to the pattern of interlacing lines of the pith. Mandarins, which originated in Southeast Asia, are also identifiable by their loose skin.
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    According to the horticulture experts at U.C. Davis, the mandarin reached the Mediterranean basin in the early 1800s, and arrived in Florida about 1825.You can read more here.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Super Bowl Team Colors In Frosting

    If you’re making cake cupcakes for Super Bowl feasting, you can ice them with your team colors. McCormick has the recipes for all the NFL team colors.

    McCormick suggests adding the color to a 16-ounce can of white frosting, but if you have a picky palate, you might prefer to make your own buttercream or cream cheese frosting (here are the recipes).

    Both sets of team colors require regular food colors and a box of McCormick NEON! food colors. The New England Patriots red also requires a bottle of black food color.

    So get mixing and surprise your family and guests with something sweet, with our hopes that the day will be even sweeter when your team wins.
     
    FROSTING TIPS

    While it’s easy to frost a cake with half of each frosting color, McCormick offers these tips for cupcakes:

     

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    Mix your team colors. The asterisks * indicate neon colors.Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

  • Spoon and Swirl Formation: Place one tablespoon of each color frosting on a cupcake, then spread and swirl the frosting with a small knife or spatula.
  • Pastry Bag Conversion: Place both colored frostings side-by-side in a pastry bag and squeeze them out together.
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    FROSTING VS. ICING: THE DIFFERENCE

    The difference between frosting and icing is that icing is made with confectioners sugar’ (also called icing sugar and 10x sugar). But the two words are used interchangeably by those not aware of this nuance.

      

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