Saturday, February 13, 2010


..........that's what I finally decided to make from the Oranges of Wrath. It's probably only fitting that a blog calling itself Orange & Salt should have to deal with oranges at some time or another (and with these trees dropping fruit left and right in the backyard, the time is now and the mood is somewhat desperate). Probably one of the nicest things that could happen to an orange is that it find its peel removed, cut lengthwise into strips, simmered gently in a bath of sugar syrup, sprinkled with crystals and finally robed in beautiful dark chocolate. I mean, if I was an orange, that's the way I'd want to go. Turn me into a classic French 'orangette.'

Something I feel you ought to know before we get started is that I love salt. I do. You might have, ah, noticed the name of my blog? One of the things to especially love about salt is the way it adds a sometimes badly needed edge to sweet things, especially fruit. The name of my blog, which could seem nonsensical without explanation, is based on my love of balance. Oranges are bitter, sour, and sweet all at once; salt is the natural balancing agent that, at least to weirdos like me, brings everything together in harmony. I actually do sometimes sprinkle a few crystals of sea salt on very sweet oranges before sucking away happily on their juices (not always oranges, you should try this on a perfect apple or a nectarine sometime! But the fact is that we live in Phoenix and there is usually a lot of citrus). Having said all that, I'm now actually tempted to rename these 'Orange & Salts,' because they owe a lot to the light, light shower of sea salt crystals I gave them right after sugaring them.

I've always been funny about desserts: I like them just fine, but I don't seem to have the taste for super sweetsweetsweet things on their own. When I first tried sugaring orange peels and tasted one in the process, I wasn't a huge fan. There's something almost, I don't know, 'childhood orange gummy candy' about them when they're so sweet. It's a lack of sophistication. Put it this way, orangettes without salt are like the girl next door. Pretty, very sweet, but a little annoying, to be honest. Orangettes with a hint of salt are like the same girl next door after she's gone away and studied abroad for a year, and come back with a sultry Parisian 'do and foreign perfume and a new air of mystery. There, does that make sense? Want to make some of these elegant little treats for your very own?

Start with fresh oranges, from your own backyard (organic!) if possible. What to do with all that lovely juicy orange flesh? Squeeze into a pitcher and drink, my friends. Remove peel from oranges and, with a sharp knife, slice away as much of the white pith as possible, leaving strips of pure orange peel. Slice into thin strips.

Blanch these peels quickly in boiling water three times, changing the water each time. Let the water boil first, then add the peels for about a minute, then remove and don't add them back until the new batch of water is boiling again.You do not want these to get too soggy (ask me about the failed batch I made the night before, when I made this very mistake. Go on, ask me), so keep their time in the boiling water brief. This 3 times thing may seem a little overly fussy, but it's important in that it removes most of the bitterness from the peels, and anyone who's ever bitten into a bitter orange peel won't make that mistake again. So blanch, blanch, blanch again!

Finally, make a sugar syrup that is equal parts sugar and water. Heat until all sugar is dissolved and syrup is nearly boiling, then add orange peels and reduce heat to simmer at medium. Simmer for 45 minutes, swirling occasionally (do not stir), then remove peels from syrup and let cool slightly. You can strain and save this syrup for use in iced tea or cocktails, it's a wonderful light golden color, super-sweet, and lightly scented with orange essence.

Toss the peels in granulated sugar to coat, spreading them evenly on a plate or other flat surface. Here's the important part: lightly sprinkle salt over the orangettes, then gently toss again. The key is to do it very lightly. Start with a tiny pinch, you can always add more. Taste once or twice to check flavor. They shouldn't taste salty, just sexy.

Let your orangettes set up for a few hours. When they have cooled and stiffened just a bit, prepare a dark chocolate bath. Ooooohhhhh.....a dark chocolate bath. ;)


Holding them by one end (which I like to leave showing because the crystallized orange peel is so pretty in its own way), dip them carefully in the chocolate and lay on a sheet of parchment paper to cool.

If you're entertaining for Valentine's Day, these would be an impossibly wonderful treat to share with a glass of champagne. And if you're won't have to share. ;)


  1. gorgeous! I love the combination of oranges and chocolate - one of my favorites. Nice pictures.

  2. Just found your blog! Love orange and chocolate. Got to try this.

  3. Those are lovely, I love raw orange peel (I grossed out a friend's teenage son by munching on the peel and handing him the fruit!), so I have to try these. Thanks for the post

  4. I know what I'm taking to the Break the Fast Feast after the Great Vigil of Easter!


  5. Oh fabulous! I made candied orange peel over Christmas and never thought to add salt to it. I sprinkled it over some sponge toffee that I made, though. I'll have to try your recipe.

  6. These look marvelous :) Saving them to try later!