Citrus is one of nature's great afterthoughts. Just when you're starved for color and can't abide another root vegetable, Mother Nature gives you citrus to keep you going till spring. A perfect little apology. There are truly decadent things to do with citrus, things involving lots of chocolate and butter and sugar. But if you want something a bit simpler (simpler in conceit, anyway, if not in practice) and something a whole lot better for you, may I suggest a Citrus and Raspberry Terrine? Chunks of orange and grapefruit, suspended in their own juices spiked with tangerine. When you cut into it, slices peel away like so many shards of stained glass.
This may, at first glance, appear to be a dump recipe: dump fruit mixed with juice (which contains a bit of unflavored gelatin) into a mold and freeze. While it is basically that simple, all of the fruit needs to be peeled, and what's more, all of that pith removed. Peeling citrus would be a great job for a child, if there are any laying around. But cutting away the pith is a job for a grown up. The recipe below is very adopted from one in Sarah Leah Chase's wonderful Cold-Weather Cooking. Her amounts seemed totally off to me, so I changed them. But the basic premise is the same.
Citrus and Raspberry Terrine
9 medium size oranges (separated, 6 for slicing, 3 for juicing)
3 pound bag of tangerines
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons orange extract
1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup frozen, unsweetened raspberries
This recipe must be made the day before you plan to serve it.
Line a 9 x 5" loaf pan with cling wrap so that there is enough wrap overhanging the edges to cover the top of the terrine while freezing, about 4".
Peel 6 of the oranges and the grapefruit, then cut away all of the white pith with a pairing knife. Break the fruit into sections, then cut the sections into bite-sized pieces. Do this all over a bowl that will catch any juice that escapes. Place the cut sections into another bowl and pour in the frozen raspberries.
Juice the tangerines and 3 of the oranges, then add that juice to any juice remaining in the bowl. Measure out 2 1/2 cups and strain through a sieve if you haven't been diligent about removing seeds.
Pour the juice into a saucepan and add the sugar.
In a glass measuring cup, pour the orange extract. Add water so that you have a total of 1/2 cup of liquid. Stir in the gelatin and set aside.
Bring the juices to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid has been reduced by a third. Whisk in the softened gelatin and stir until it's dissolved.
Pour the juice mixture over the fruit sections and fold carefully to combine, trying not to break apart the fruit sections. Pour the entire mixture into the loaf pan. Fold the overhanging cling wrap over the top of the terrine and freeze overnight.
The next day, run a knife around the edge of the terrine to unmold it and invert it onto a cutting surface. Slice in 1/2" slices and allow to defrost a bit before serving. Serve cold, but not frozen, and enjoy a refreshing shot of vitamin C.
* In order to cut the pith away, hold the knife basically parallel to the fruit and slide it under the pith from bottom to top. It's easiest to do this before the fruit is sectioned. Don't worry about taking some of the fruit with the pith. I squeezed the pith over a bowl at the end to get all of that great juice out.
* If you'd rather use orange liqueur instead of orange extract, use a 1/2 cup of liqueur and no water
* If you have them, blood oranges would be beautiful in this