Old-School Citrus Desserts

Dessert, Featured Article, In Season, Recipes, Seasonal Foods, Winter
on December 23, 2011
Orange Cheesecake Tarts

The ancient Japanese believed there was magic in oranges. The sun-shaped fruits were regarded as the fruit of life, or so the tellers of such stories would have us believe. The Japanese and Chinese were among the first to cultivate citrus fruits, and once they hit our shores, East truly met West.

The juicy spectrum of orange, lemon, and lime varieties are at their peak right now in the citrus belts of Florida, Texas and California. We’ll take them almost any way we can get them, of course, but we especially love them in sweet-and-sour desserts that let the natural tartness and jolting flavors of citrus fruits shine. Here are six golden oldies (but-still-hella-goodies) that do just that. To get the recipes, just click on the images.

Subtle, sweet orange flavor infuses our elegant, single-serving cheesecake tarts. Don’t let the DIY candied orange peel fool you either—these little citrusy darlings make and bake in under an hour.

Once upon a time in a magical land where there was no sweetened condensed milk, there lived a lemon tart made with little more than fresh lemon juice, sugar and a splash of cream. We baked it. We ate it. We adored it. The end.

A little bit of light spongy cake, a whole lotta sultry, custardy lemony goodness—this do-you-eat-it-with-a-fork-or-a-spoon dessert may have an identity crisis that not even Freud could unravel, but we love it just the same. And we’d like seconds, please.

Whether you’ve got juicy satsumas, tangerines or navel oranges on hand, any (or all) will work just dandy in lemon meringue’s kissin’ cousin of a pie. It’s even better for breakfast.

It’s no small thing to improve upon flan—but bonus points to whoever hit upon the simple brilliance of adding lightly flavored almonds and fresh oranges to the jiggly chilled custard.

We saved the best for last—the Big Daddy of them all when it comes to old-school citrus desserts. No matter how many diets we go on, no matter how many times it’s served to us, no matter how you slice it—we’ve always got room for Key Lime Pie. And hey, if the pie plate comes around more than once…who are we to say no?

—By Stacey Norwood, Multimedia Editor