Orange Spoon Fruit with Feta and Spiced Almonds
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR Plus 1 hr chilling
- SERVINGS: 6
"I have such an emotional connection to spoon fruit," says Michael Psilakis of the marmalade-like confection. Greeks might eat a spoonful of the sweet with an ice-water chaser as a midday pick-me-up or dessert; Psilakis likes spreading it on slabs of brioche toast and topping it with feta and almonds for breakfast or a snack.
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- 3 Cara Cara or navel oranges
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 3 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise pod
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup unsalted almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large slices of brioche, toasted, for serving
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Fresh chopped thyme, for garnish
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. With a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in long strips. Boil the strips in the water for 1 minute, then drain. Repeat this blanching 4 more times with fresh water to remove any bitterness. Transfer the zest to a food processor and finely chop. Remove the bitter white pith from the oranges, then chop the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, orange juice and lemon juice with the cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf and star anise and bring to a boil. Add the minced orange zest and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the chopped orange flesh and simmer until very thick, about 25 minutes.
- Discard the spices and the bay leaf and transfer the mixture to a food processor. Process until thick and jamlike. Transfer the spoon fruit to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the almonds and cook over moderate heat until richly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cardamom and season the almonds with salt and pepper. Let them cool completely.
- Spread the spoon fruit on the toasted brioche and top with the feta. Sprinkle with the almonds and thyme and serve.