Tag Archives: mandarins

California Cuties: Citrus Tian Dessert

Blood Orange Tian

It’s nearly April, and with Spring having done its annual thing, the Acer on my patio is finally beginning to leaf out, I’ve replenished my sadly neglected herb box, and it seems everything is in riotous bloom.  The season has had a positive effect on me as well, because I actually completed a Daring Bakers Challenge within respectable time of its March 27 reveal date.  Will wonders never cease?

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.  Oh the possibilities for this particular challenge.

If you’ve not heard of a tian before, it’s a layered dessert comprised of a pate sablee, marmalade, flavored whipped cream and fruit — and in the case of this month’s challenge — oranges.  Living in the Golden State, or Southern California in particular, citrus is plentiful.  At this time of year, there are  lemons, Meyer lemons, Persian limes, key limes, pink grapefruit, yellow grapefruit, cara oranges (they’re pink inside), Valencia oranges, blood oranges, and Cuties.

Cuties are California mandarins.  They’re tiny, compact orbs of sweet, segmented deliciousness — especially if you want something for a healthy snack.  And since they were on sale at Henry’s, I decided they’d become the base of my dessert.  Thanks very much to Jennifer for this challenge.  A tian is a dessert that can be made ahead of time in parts, then assembled right before you’d like to enjoy it.

Wait — have you ever made marmalade?

Ah, well.  Therein lies the rub.

Cuties
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Upside Down Cutie Cake

With nearly two years writing here, it’s only been recently that I’ve begun to discover other foodies in and around the San Diego area.  Although I’ve found several, it still amazes me when a new one pops up and I add it to my mental list of, I should create a section just for us in my sidebar.  Now, I’m sure there are lots of reasons we add a new link to our sidebars — or in some cases, a special page for links, but for me, it’s more about keeping it where I can see it.  Then it’s easier for me to visit.

You’re laughing, right?  Because I know lots of people use readers, and I have a few myself.  But for some reason, I’ve never gotten into the routine of actually using it and so I find myself flitting from one place to another without a care in the world.

It’s shameful, this gadabout lack of organization, but lovely things do come from it.  I’ll call it serendipitous that I happened onto Food Blogga’s recipe for Clementine Upside Down Cake the other day.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it since I’ve had a box of “Cuties” for longer than I’d like to admit, thinking they’d end up in marmalade.

Sure, like I’d make marmalade. Well, I thought I might, tempted by all the amazing citrus in the markets right now and a bundle of fresh vanilla beans I purchased not too long ago.

My grandmother used to make pineapple upside down cake in her black cast iron skillet, and it’s been years since I had a taste of that.  But I’ve always been more fond of tangerines than pineapple — especially canned pineapple, so the idea of sweet tangerine flavor soaked into a light cake sounded perfect.

Looks like the marmalade will have to wait a bit longer, because I just had to make this cake.


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