Saturday, 2 February 2013

Coconut Sunshine

Mandarino Caramellato con Coco, Menta & Yogurt
Caramelized Mandarin Orange & Coconut with Yogurt & Mint

This little sweet dish started out as an experiment... and ended up as my dessert this evening! I have always found it strange, interesting and just plain cool that you can grill watermelon, that it takes on a new flavor, remains firm and does NOT turn into a puddle of wet sludgy juice- which is what you would imagine, right? Well obviously not- but I digress...

I got the crazy notion into my head, that maybe mandarin orange might react to heat in a similar way- and being as they are in season and I had a couple of pounds of them, I just simply had to find out! What I DID find out was that heat does strange things to food sometimes! And not always in the way you might expect...

So- where did I begin? Oh yes! I started off by getting my frying pan really hot- figuring that it would sear the outer layer of the mandarin orange segments, which I had diced... mainly in order to remove the pips. So- into the frying pan they went! Hissss! And- surprise-surprise... they did not turn into a pool of juice as I had feared- hurrah! 

The I tasted one... and discovered that the otherwise sweet orange had become bitter because of the heat- and although I just claimed with my bitter dandelion salad that I like that... there is a time and place! And the time was not at the end of my meal and the place was not in a sweet dessert! So- what to do? I decided I needed something neutral tasting to balance things out a little. I had been planning on eating the fruit with a little mint on yogurt, but there was no way I could do that with the fruit now turned bitter. Then I had an idea... grated coconut! 

I sprinkled the orange chunks with coconut, which soon began to change color as it soaked up the juices... mmm, that must be a good thing, right? I tasted it... mmm- nice flavor and a little better, but not yet good. Honey would have tasted great, but also run the risk of burning and becoming bitter in itself- so instead I sprinkled everything with powdered sugar and stirred, added a little more and stirred on... and found that the coconut began to change from a pale gold to a rich crispy brown... and the flavor had changed from too tangy to just right! Yay! You will need to keep adding the sugar little by little and tasting it until it gets to be sweetness you prefer- you just can't do too much in one go or it will melt and stick everything together.

Once the orange had cooled, I popped it into the fridge for a half hour or so, so that it was slightly chilled- and then served it on just a little yogurt, with a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh mint... yum! Now it was perfect! tangy, crispy, slightly sweet and refreshing! A slightly different fruit-salad of sorts- and yes, it was really good when everything mixed together! I hope you like it too!

No comments:

Post a Comment