Sunday, 5 June 2011

Mangia Arancia!

Crema di Formaggio Fresco al Arancia
Orange Cream Cheese Delight 

I am sure you have noticed that orange is definitely my color (and flavor!) at the moment. Moving swiftly on from my freshly made marmalade, I set out to make something else that was easy, delicious and healthy at the same time.

I tend to avoid desserts. Not being blessed with genes that turn fat into muscle makes me cautious of the delightful little devils. Not so with this one- a light, refreshing and tangy blast of goodness to thrill you after a wonderful Summer meal. Or on a sunny afternoon. Or whenever...

I may be a bit of a difficult person at times, but my desserts are always blessedly simple. This is mainly because they are not one of my strengths. This is a sure-fire, summery dessert that is quick and easy to make and will not cost you pounds to make or cause you to gain pounds whilst you enjoy it!

There are many types of cream cheese that you can use for this. Here in Germany, we have something that the Germans call "quark"... I truly wish I knew what the English equivalent would be! It is a firm and compact cheese, which is available with a fat content of anything between 20-60%. I prefer to use the lowest fat version- because it's all a matter of what you do with it. And we are going to do good things with it!

I start out, again, by peeling an orange, chopping the peel finely and soaking it a number of times in boiling water to reduce the acidity. Put aside a few of these as we are going to use them for the garnish later. In a small saucepan, heat up orange juice and sugar to make a syrup. A ratio of 3 parts juice to one part sugar should be enough- depending of course on how sweet your oranges are. Simmer this down until it becomes thick and syrupy and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, mix together 3 parts low fat cream cheese to one part milk, add a little confectioners sugar and whisk for 3-4 minutes. People tend to think you need to have a high fat content in your cream cheese for it to taste creamy and delicious, but if you whisk it well, you will be surprised at just how creamy it gets. Flavor with your reduced orange syrup to taste. Now add a little instant gelatin powder and whisk well for one final time. This will give the cream cheese a little more body later. All you need to do now, is to fill into little forms and to chill overnight. It's as easy as that!

I turned mine out onto a slice of orange to serve. You may need to go around the edge of your glass with a knife to loosen it- but be patient- it will come out! Don't panic if it insists on being stubborn and not coming out nicely- pop it back in, give it a good shake and turn it out again. I had to do this with mine and the result was till pretty as a picture!

Sprinkle with orange peel and serve immediately! 

You can add a sauce if you like- or save some of the orange reduction like I did. I added a little Cointreau and grenadine to give it a little more flavor and color... but whatever you do with it- this orange flavored sweety really is a delight!

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