|Crema de Naranja - Orange Cream Recipe by Susana Gertrudis Jimenez Moya|
Photo by Leticia Alaniz © 2015
Hosting an elegant dinner party makes special occasions more festive, especially when you celebrate with good food and good friends. Fine food, does not always mean complicated dishes. Sometimes, it can be several small courses that can be as simple as starting with a plate of fromage or cheese course with nuts, herbs and honey; followed by a course of grilled or baked vegetables and a salad with a light vinagerette or even a soup served warm with bread. For the main course, a dish than can be grilled or roasted ahead of time and kept warm before serving, is always a very nice way to present an elegant plate. Best of all, it keeps the host free to enjoy as much time as possible with the guests, rather than spending too much time in the kitchen.
The last course is one of my favorites as the evening warms up with lively conversation. It’s the dessert course that can be made ahead of time and served with a glass of sparkling wine, cordial, a velvety Spanish jerez (sherry), or a fine brandy. Many desserts taste even better if they’re made the night before so that if they’re served cold, they can have plenty of time to set.
Why do we love desserts? Medieval and renaissance phisicians used to promote the value of a little bit of sweets in our diets for good health and mental wellbeing. Most cultures of the world did not need to be told twice about the benefits of having dessert after a meal or in between meals. It was just a natural instinct that has evolved with us. Who wants to take a chance and not do something good for our health? It’s a good thought and at least it’s good for our souls!
When I asked my very special friend from Spain, Susana Jimenez Moya, what is one of her favorite desserts to serve after dinner, she mentioned Crema de Naranja or Orange Cream. Spain is a major contributor to gastronomy when it comes to desserts. Many have a rich heritage in dairy so it's no surprise Susana has suggested a sweet cream. In Spain, every region has their own culinary traditions and each region has their own signature dulces or desserts that have travelled the world over and have endured for centuries. The Spaniards have followed the recommendations of physicians of yesteryear to the letter, and desserts and sweets are a very proud part of their varied and elegant cuisine.
|Susana Gertrudis Jimenez Moya|
Susana is from the picturesque southern region of Andalusia, specifically from Málaga. Pronounce out loud Andalusia several times and it sounds like you’re reciting a poem. With the beautiful seaside and rural landscapes, fresh ingredients and a cool fragrant breeze, it’s a perfect environment for creating special meals in the kitchen or better yet outdoors, which is exactly what Susana does. Susana is a very passionate cook and food is one of the subjects we love to talk about. So, on we go to make the recipe that Susana has contributed for Crema de Naranja. It’s so simple yet sophisticated, with a silky finesse texture, you’ll want to make it often. Once your dessert is made, you can proudly exclaim as the Andalusian people do, “¡Olé!”, which is an expression to mean well done, or to say a task or play was triumphant.
Crema de Naranja (Orange Cream)
3 to 4 Valencia or Málaga oranges
Juice of one small lime
10-12 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon of orange grated zest
fresh mint leaves for garnish
Grate enough zest from an orange to make at least 1 teaspoon. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze the juice. It’s important to obtain as much pulp as possible as that contributes to the concentrated flavor. Don’t waste any. In a bowl, beat the orange juice with the lime. Add the condensed milk. Next, add the orange zest and mix. That’s it! It’s so creamy and fragrant. Pour into small containers or the halves of the juiced oranges and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Even better if it’s chilled overnight so that the flavors can intensify and set. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve at your next dinner party.
- Susana is a passionate cook and reaches deep down into her roots to learn ancestral recipes that weave the very essence of Spanish culture. She is a talented artisan with a successful boutique, named aptly Glamour Marie Antoniette that features her very own handmade artistic creations. She is passionate about traveling and world cuisines form part of her cooking repertoire such as Italian, French and lately Indian. She is an avid day dreamer and lover of literature and fine arts.