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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #68: Citrus Fruits

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Thanks for the info.  It will be a challenge for me to "slice the oranges" paper thin as Ducasse directs.  Then we'll proceed with baking and drying the oranges. 

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Today to eat with salmon I made a very classic Sicilian salad: fennel, orange and olives. I only added a few pomegranate seeds for color and some tarragon. Dressed with extra virgin olive oil, a little orange and lemon juice and salt

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Lemon and cream stew is one of these recipes that has  a base sauce but you can change  the meat,  fish cooks the quickest , then chicken and pork take the longest.   I used to make this with left over  roasted chicken and then it was a quick as fish.

 

Lemon and cream stew. 4 servings

 

1½ cups of stock, either chicken, pork, vegetable or  fish.

500 gram of  chicken or  fish or strips of pork or left over roasted chicken

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup cream

1-2 tablespoon lemon juice

( 5 tablespoon of chopped parsley)

1 eggyolk + 2 tablespoon of cream.

Salt  and pepper.

 

Chicken or pork  get browned  while fish does not.  Add the  stock, half the lemon juice  and cream and simmer until the meat is tender.  That is different times for all and I have no clue which since  this is a recipe from a note . Lift out  the meat, strain the broth  through a cloth, measure  should be minimum of 1½ cup or add a bit more cream or water and put the liquid back in the pot and leave it on a gentle  heat. Whisk   cream and egg yolk smooth.   Remove from the pot from the heat and whisk in the egg yolk , whisk until smooth.   Season with salt, pepper and lemon.  If you want to add fresh note to it all, add some chopped parsley, go after you own preference when it comes to that.  

Serve  with rice or potatoes and a salad.

It doesnt fare well  being kept on the heat or re heated after the egg yolk has gone in.

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Well, my first attempt at making the Ducasse "orange chips" ended up with some good results, albeit with a few changes to the recipe instructions.

 

So I faced a couple of roadblocks up front. I noticed that in the cookbook photo, Ducasse shows the lemon tartelette garnished with "orange chips" with the peel on.  However, the recipe calls for peeling the orange slices.  The tartelette is also garnished with candied peel, yet the method for making the candied peel is missing from the recipe.  Such are the details one finds missing in cookbooks, even at the Michelin level. I decided to craft both peeled and unpeeled orange chips.

 

To start making the orange chips, you have to slice the oranges "paper-thin."  Aha I thought, my French mandolin will do the trick.  Na-da. The orange slices didn't hold up "paper-thin" when passing through the mandolin blade.  Then I remembered the trusted tool I use for slicing all sorts of things--meats, cheeses and breads--my electric meat cutter.  Now I can add oranges to the list of slicing possibilities--really, really, paper-thin slices of orange.  You aren't pushing the fruit through the blade like on a mandolin, but rather, gently nudging the orange through the electric blade.  A table saw for citrus if you will and it delivers precise slices every time. I found the peeled slices almost too delicate to handle.  The slices with the peel were more sturdy, but I worried the peel and pith would have a bitter flavor.  We would see.

 

The cooking process starts with a simple syrup of 4 parts water to 2 parts sugar.  Bring to the boil and let cook for about 10 minutes until reduced by half.  Now gently tip in the orange slices and take the syrup off the heat.  Steep the orange slices in the syrup for 5 minutes.

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Now this step is really tough, at least it was for me and my stubby fingers.  You have to gently place the orange slices on parchment paper laid over a cookie sheet. (I took your suggestions and did as instructed.  I didn't place the slices on a metal screen).  Fingers didn't work, so I gently nudged each orange slice out of the syrup onto a wide spatula and used the spatula to deliver the slice onto the parchment.

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Bake the slices in a 325 oven about 25 minutes or until they just start to turn caramel.  Turn the oven off and let the slices dry in the oven for one hour.

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OK, they look good, great actually.  Now let's check the texture.   Ugh, orange slices stuck to the parchment.  This step takes as much patience as noodling the slices with a spatula from the syrup to the parchment--it takes delicate care to gently pull each slice from the parchment.  I suppose more time in the oven would have dried the slices to the point where they would have been easier to pull off the parchment, but I didn't want to let something paper thin go too far.  The unpeeled slices were the toughest--same time in the oven as the slices with peel, but still tacky and tough to pull up.  The peel on the other slices acted as sort of the rim around the frame of the orange so they were easy to pull up and more crispy.  Hmm.  Odd science, but I go by touch and flavor.

 

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Once removed off the parchment, I placed the slices on a cookie rack to dry overnight.  This morning I did a comparison. Visually I think both the peeled and unpeeled slices are worthy of garnishing a Ducasse lemon tartelette.  I like the imperfect shape and all the little nooks and crannies in the orange slices.  The unpeeled slice was chewy, not yet at the "crisp" stage and the flavor was good but not the strong orange flavor I'm looking for.  Too tame.  I feared the peel would make the other slice too bitter, but I remembered that I do love a good candied orange peel.  It was heaven, crispy, crunchy, just a tad bitter, yet sweet and bursting with orange flavor.  The thin layer of peel that had been steeped in syrup, baked and then dried had retained just enough orange oil to deliver flavor that wasn't too bitter.  This will be a fine little garnish for the lemon tartelette and I think go quite well with my chocolate sauce.  I think. 

 

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That's beautiful work, David. The peeled slices remind me of the lacy crisps that one gets from baking shredded cheese in little flattened patties until it's crisp - I forget what those are called (ducks head in shame) but they always look pretty when someone gets them right.

Do you think, in retrospect, that the parchment paper blocked circulation? Would these have been more or less sticky if put on a grate over a baking sheet? Would you have been able to get them off the grate when finished?

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That's beautiful work, David. The peeled slices remind me of the lacy crisps that one gets from baking shredded cheese in little flattened patties until it's crisp - I forget what those are called (ducks head in shame) but they always look pretty when someone gets them right.

Do you think, in retrospect, that the parchment paper blocked circulation? Would these have been more or less sticky if put on a grate over a baking sheet? Would you have been able to get them off the grate when finished?

I had considered putting them over a fine mesh screen, but decided against it and went with the parchment Ducasse calls for.  I will however try it with my screen next time. I haven't tried that method for fruit slices, but I have for veggies and baked goods.  I usually spray it with non-stick spray first so that helps with the sticking issue.  One downfall of using the screen is it leaves a cross-hatch imprint on the food.  That's o.k. for the bottom of a pizza crust, but probably wouldn't look great on my orange slices.  This is another great cause for more experimentation and I like my new approach of testing all the elements first.  I typically go into a new dish blind and put everything together at the same time, but using my new approach I can test the garnishes, lemon filling, chocolate sauce and pastry crust first. 

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What about a thin layer of glass curtain on the screen.  I have some glass curtains...from a much earlier visit to Utah...and I find them useful for all sorts of things, like keeping flies and fruitflies at bay when leaving things out to cool, and instead of cheesecloth...not quite the same, but they do work...mind is currently a blank, but I do use them a lot.  They will let all the air in for the drying of the orange slices and not leave a pattern.  I think.  It's just a thought.

 

Really enjoying reading about your Ducasse workout.

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What about a thin layer of glass curtain on the screen.  I have some glass curtains...from a much earlier visit to Utah...and I find them useful for all sorts of things, like keeping flies and fruitflies at bay when leaving things out to cool, and instead of cheesecloth...not quite the same, but they do work...mind is currently a blank, but I do use them a lot.  They will let all the air in for the drying of the orange slices and not leave a pattern.  I think.  It's just a thought.

 

Really enjoying reading about your Ducasse workout.

"Glass curtain"? Google has failed me. Is this mica? Please tell more.

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Sorry about that.  It's just what I've always called sheer curtains.  They are fibreglass or some other fabric that you can see through sort of.  People used to hang then underneath the drapes.  They don't block out the light.  A friend was getting rid of his when we were in Utah many years ago and we had rented an empty house.  We put them up in the living room.  And then took them home to use in cooking and baking. 

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=sheers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=sheer+curtains

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Sorry about that.  It's just what I've always called sheer curtains.  They are fibreglass or some other fabric that you can see through sort of.  People used to hang then underneath the drapes.  They don't block out the light.  A friend was getting rid of his when we were in Utah many years ago and we had rented an empty house.  We put them up in the living room.  And then took them home to use in cooking and baking. 

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=sheers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=sheer+curtains

 

 

Yes, the sheer curtains between the heavy drapes and the actual window are called "glass curtains"  -- but you use them in cooking? ! ? ! ? Who thought up that idea?  And how do you use them?  And how do you make sure they're not polyester and they'll melt?  :)

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I have a friend who decorates her home with her scarves and has been known to make clothing from her old curtains, a la Maria and the Von Trapp children. It never occurred to me that old curtains (even the sheers) could be used in cookery also! Thanks!

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Again my apologies for not explaining better.  They are not part of the actual cooking or baking heat process.  I just thought that maybe David Ross could dry his orange slices on the curtains to avoid grid marks.  I just use them anywhere where cheese cloth is called for, or for drying items, etc.  Sorry.  I don't seem to be making myself very clear today.  Time to lie down and read a book.

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The sweet pastry is in the fridge resting and tomorrow I'll craft the lemon filling for the tartelette. It's time to start planning my next citrus dish.  I'm thinking of doing a variation of a spiced orange cake.  The recipe calls for using regular oranges, but I'm thinking of using blood oranges.  Does anyone have experience baking with blood oranges?  Do you use more or less sugar in a cake that uses blood oranges?

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I'd use a little less because red oranges are usually sweeter than the orange ones.

 

I have cara cara and regular navels in the fridge now, and I have to say that after the novelty wore off, I prefer good navels.

 

I still like the bloods because I don't get them here very much, but I think this is my last purchase of the cara caras.

 

Of course, you could always balance the recipe with a little lemon juice, and keep the sugar the same.

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Here are the elements ready to finish the Ducasse Lemon Tartlet. From the left, fresh lime, orange and grapefruit "supremes," lemon filling, orange chips (both with and without the peel), and "rich sugar pastry" pre-baked shells.  

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The lemon filling is spooned into the shells and baked per the recipe in a 300 oven for 17 minutes.  The photo of the finished dish in the cookbook is cropped very close, so close in fact that I couldn't get a good idea of how it should look on the plate.  I've been watching "MasterChef UK-The Professionals," lately so I referred back to some pastry platings from talented young British Chefs.

 

My version of "Tartlette au Citron et Agrumes, Chips d'Orange"-(On an American menu we would probably title this little beauty a "Lemon Bar Tart with Citrus Salad and Bittersweet Chocolate.")-

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I think I'd make some changes to this dish next time:

-Use my shortbread crust that I use when making lemon bars.  It's fail-safe, butter, a bit of flour and plenty of powdered sugar.  You just press it into the pan or tart shell, no rolling needed.

-Use my lemon bar filling which includes lemon extract and grated lemon peel for a stronger flavor. Ducasse instructs you to serve the tartelette warm, but I prefer a lemon bar custard which has chilled and set, then served at room temperature. The Ducasse filling was a blend of lemon juice, melted butter, powdered sugar and eggs, but I found it too runny, taking over twice as long to cook to set as the recipe directed.

-I considered adding a small scoop of orange sorbet, but that would only be gilding the lilly.  Another nice touch but you really don't need it.

-This was the first time I've eaten fresh lime wedges and it was quite the tart surprise.  Next time I think I'd coat the wedges with sugar and caramelize them to add both sweetness and texture.

-I used a 4oz. bar of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, (the premium baking bar), 60% cacao.  I simply melted it in a bowl over a pot of slowly simmering water.  It was the perfect bittersweet balance against the tart citrus fruit and the creamy lemon custard.  Surprising since the chocolate was the one element I added to the original Ducasse recipe and it turned out quite good.

 

The best flavor combination of the dish?  A spoon of warm, bittersweet chocolate, a fresh orange supreme and a crispy orange chip.  Devine is a fitting description.

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Wow.  My mouth is watering!

Mine too! I'll bet that chocolate was just the right note to set everything off to perfection. Thanks for the additional notes on what you'd do differently next time. It's nice to know that tried-and-true recipes (shortbread, filling) can be better than what the published pros recommend.

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Mine too! I'll bet that chocolate was just the right note to set everything off to perfection. Thanks for the additional notes on what you'd do differently next time. It's nice to know that tried-and-true recipes (shortbread, filling) can be better than what the published pros recommend.

I agree. My lemon bars beat this lemon tartlette hands down.

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In the opener to our Cook-Off, I shared a memory of my Grandmother Edna May Pink and the grapefruit I imagined she served at a Ladies Bridge Club Luncheon.  This morning as I was reaching for the food processor, I found this treasured juicer sitting quietly on the back shelf.  Then I remembered.  This is my Grandmother's citrus juicer.  I have no idea how old it is, but the streamline design certainly fits with the décor of an American kitchen of the 1930's.  How ironic it would nudge to the front of the line during our Citrus Cook-Off.

 

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In the opener to our Cook-Off, I shared a memory of my Grandmother Edna May Pink and the grapefruit I imagined she served at a Ladies Bridge Club Luncheon.  This morning as I was reaching for the food processor, I found this treasured juicer sitting quietly on the back shelf.  Then I remembered.  This is my Grandmother's citrus juicer.  I have no idea how old it is, but the streamline design certainly fits with the décor of an American kitchen of the 1930's.  How ironic it would nudge to the front of the line during our Citrus Cook-Off.

 

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It is pretty heavy and fear the orange that has to go through the bear down.  Lovely, fresh juice is the result and it doesn't take any electricity, just elbow grease. 

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