Of late I've had cravings for the humble orange and as I am in charge of all things that flow into the kitchen, this craving had to be satisfied.
Oranges we know are good for us - besides Vitamin C they also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin and Tocopherol. Mineral wise you'll find Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium and Zinc.
Now while I may have had a craving for oranges, it was more a cause of having a craving for a particular dish that uses oranges. Perhaps I needed all the goodness of oranges to make up for the "badness" of these caramelised oranges.
220 grams caster sugar
1 cup water
Prepare the Oranges:
Slice the top and bottom of each orange to just reveal the orange flesh and create a flat surface on which to rest your orange.
Use a thin bladed knife (a vegetable knife) to remove the peel and pith from all the oranges.
Place the orange on a board and starting from the top follow the curve of the orange, making sure you are cutting away the pith along with the peel - you will need to loose a little of the orange flesh but with practice this will be minimal. With each downward slice, twist the orange and slice again. Once you've completely gone round, turn the orange upside down to remove any peel that remains. If any bits of pith remain just cut them off.
You end up with these naked oranges - the next step is to then segment each orange. Do this over a bowl because you want to catch all the juice. Once you've segmented each orange, give the remains a squeeze to extract the juice from any remaining flesh - discard this part.
To segment the orange, place it in the palm of your hand with the segment membranes running vertical and slide your knife between the membrane and the orange flesh in a smooth motion until you reach the centre of the orange. Remove the knife and repeat the process detaching the other side of the segment from the membrane. This first slice is the hardest. The membrane-free segment should just fall out into your bowl. You then repeat the process to remove the rest of the orange segments.
Now you can move on and make the caramel.
Place the sugar and half of the water into a pan, stir to dissolve the sugar and then over a medium heat let it cook undisturbed.
You need to cook this until the mixture reaches a dark toffee colour - the time needed will depend on the heat applied but for a very rough estimate it will take about 10 minutes. You must let the colour be your guide rather than the clock.
This next part is where you need to be careful as splash back can occur. Since we are dealing with molten sugars you don't want this splashing onto your skin - wear appropriate clothing, make sure you hands and arms are shielded. It is much better to be safe than burnt.
Tip in the remaining half cup of water - this is where the mixture will bubble. Once it subsides, stir the water into the toffee. You'll notice that the toffee will at first harden but then it will dissolve back into the water to create the caramel.
When this happens, remove the pan from the heat and tip in the segmented oranges and their juice. Give it a stir and then pour out into your serving dish (make sure it's heatproof!)
Let this cool before serving and as it does, the oranges will infuse with the caramel.
To serve - I've opted for a very simple approach. I've partnered the sweet oranges and their orange flavoured caramel syrup with a good dollop of vanilla yoghurt (that is good for you!). You could sprinkle over some toasted flaked almonds for a little crunch.