Oranges are one of the most recognizable fruits in the world – I think only some remote tribe, untouched by civilization and living in an area where oranges do not grow will not know what an orange is. The worldwide familiarity comes not only because the fruit itself is recognizable, the orange “flavor” is also a stalwart of many cuisines. So fundamental is the orange flavor in fact that there are many products that won’t even exist or become what it is without the taste of orange.
Today is National Orange Blossom Day and it’s time to celebrate the merits of oranges. National Orange Blossom day is a bit of a deceptive milestone, however. Apparently there are two “orange blossoms.” One is the immediate thing that will come to mind when you hear the phrase – the flowers of the orange tree. The second one, and less well known or obvious, is a mixed drink. Apparently, National Orange Blossom Day celebrates the latter.
Orange blossom is a simple drink – a mixture of gin, orange juice and (optional) fine sugar. It’s like a Screwdriver, but the changed spirit is the gin (as opposed to vodka for the Screwdriver) and there is the addition of fine sugar to make it sweeter.
Here’s another recipe for Orange Blossom based on the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar book
3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz orange juice
Just pour all of the ingredients into a mixing glass. Add some ice cubes and stir well. Now strain the concoction into a chilled cocktail glass.
But aside from the cocktail, there is also another fine ingredient that carries the phrase “orange blossom” — and that is orange blossom water.
Orange blossom water, or orange flower water, is a distillation of bitter-orange blossoms. This clear and very fragrant distillation is commonly used for making drinks like the Ramos Gin Fizz. But it is also used as an ingredient for various desserts – mainly those of French or Mediterranean origins. But this ingredient has also become a popular addition to desserts made in Western cuisine.
Orange blossom water is quite versatile. It is used for a wide variety of applications in other countries. For example, in the Middle East, the orange blossom water is usually added to drinking water to hide any bad taste in case the water tastes bad.
Orange Blossom recipes
Below are some recipes that use orange blossom water. If you love the clean, citrusy taste of oranges then these recipes are guaranteed winners.
Pistachio and Orange Blossom Water Madeleines
Madeleines are one of the most common recipes that use orange blossom water. This madeleine recipe also features pistachios, which are a natural complement to oranges.
Macerated Oranges with Dates and Pistachios
Macerating fruits is a great way of bringing out their sweetness especially if they’re not so ripe or you got fruits that are not very sweet. Macerated strawberries taste great, but so does macerated oranges. This macerated orange recipe feature orange blossom water to add to the orange-iness, with the added treats of dates and pistachios.
Chocolate-Orange Blossom Cake
Chocolate and orange is one of those really perfect combinations as proven by those orange-infused chocolates. Now turn that into a Chocolate-Orange Blossom Cake and what you have is a dessert champion.
Clementine and Orange Blossom Clafoutis
A clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries, but this clementine clafoutis infused with orange blossom water is a great alternative and equally delicious. Don’t forget to serve this lukewarm.
Strawberries with Orange Blossom and Pine Nuts
Fruits and couscous is a very Mediterranean dish. It’s like a salad and a dessert all rolled into one. This dish – a combination of strawberries a, couscous, honey, mint leaves and orange blossom water – sounds exotic but guaranteed to be a hit at the table.