Monday, May 23, 2011

Cara Cara Orange Granita

   Cara cara oranges are fairly new to most super markets.  I found them at Walmart for god's sake!  However, their presence is not terribly consistent in the produce department so you many have unknowingly passed them over.  This variety of navel orange is slightly smaller than many regular oranges with a softer, smoother skin and very round appearance.  Once cut into, you'll find a deep red-y orange flesh (hence the alternative name: red navel) that is incredibly juicy and low in acid.  The flavor is definitely that of an orange but had so much more depth and complexity than regular navel oranges.  The bag I bought, had hints of pineapple and strawberry and, you are going to think I am crazy, tasted like it had a drop of citrus vodka.  I kid you not.  They are delicious!

   For this recipe you can use any variety of orange you like, but try to find the cara cara orange.  It takes this simple dessert to another level!  The intricate flavor of the cara cara and the rum turn this fruit ice into something special.  Adding the vanilla yogurt allows you to enjoy a childhood favorite with a more intricate flavor well-suited for adult palates.
Cara Cara Orange Granita
6 cara cara oranges
3/4 C water
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C dark rum*
1 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp salt
Vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream (not french vanilla)

   Combine sugar and water in a pot.  Heat over medium-high until sugar is dissolved.  Allow to cool.  Add rum, ginger and salt.
   Zest one orange.  Add to water/sugar.  Juice two of the oranges.  (If you don't want to present the granita in orange bowls, just juice the other four oranges.  If you are using another variety of  orange, know that you'll need about 2 C juice total)
   Optional steps for a fun presentation:  For the other four:  Cut a thin slice off the bottom so the oranges stand stable.  Cut a thicker slice off the top to expose flesh, about 1/4 of the way down.  (As in the picture:)
Squeeze juice out of the cut off tops.  Save the thin slices from the bottom.  Use a spoon to slowly work out the flesh of the oranges.  (A grapefruit spoon would work really well here.)  Squeeze the juice from the orange inards you have liberated from the skin.  If you accidentally poke a hole in the bottom of your orange bowl, flip the thin slice from the bottom upside down to cover the hole.  Wrap in plastic and freeze.  (Like this:)
Combine orange juice and water/sugar mixture.  Pour into a glass or plastic container with a cover and put in freezer for 8 hours to overnight.  After about 2 hours, use a fork to scrape granita.  Scrape again before serving.
*Don't use alcohol?  Leave out the the rum.  However, you will have to scrape the mixture every hour for 3-4 hours and then again before serving for the right icy texture.
   For serving, lightly pack granita into orange bowl until flush with the top.  Place a 2 oz scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt on top.  Top with more of the granita.
   Serves 4.

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