Blood Oranges

I think I have found my favorite season here in Tunisia. The weather is not too cold, the sun still shows a brilliant blue nearly everyday, and the waves on the Mediterranean Sea have changed from their usual languid roll to a more spirited crash.  That, and it is citrus season.

I have yet to tire of the variety of citrus that is available to us. I just adore the happy sight of tree branches laden with lemons and oranges, hanging over walls and lining the streets. Our local produce stand is keeping me flush with blood oranges, I am mad for them. The rind is pebbly and blushed crimson.  When sliced, they reveal a deep orange that gives way to red and purple. Their flavor is a cross between an orange (duh) and berries. They are abundant and cheap, I bought a big bag full of them for around 2 bucks.

We've been eating them straight up, mixed into salads with fennel and arugula, and juiced. You will never see a more gorgeous juice and I highly recommend that you grab a nearby bottle of something sparkly and make yourself a Mimosa. No need to thank me, giving you that advice is just the right thing to do.

Last week I made the juice into a salmon hued curd. I intended to serve it as a parfait with some cream that would be whipped and blended with a little curd. The curd and cream would then be layered in a little compote and topped with candied pistachios. Well, that didn't happen.

The cream I had purchased would not whip. I had the Kitchen Aid cranked, and after 30 minutes my one cup of cream was only ever so slightly frothy and most of the kitchen was coated in milky splatter. Boo. You should know that the cream we have here is UHT, (on the left in the photo below) and usually it will whip with some effort but it wasn't going to cooperate that day. Instead we had blood orange curd with almond shortbread. It was still yummy, like a really decadent creamsicle.

I really wanted to try the parfait so I broke down and bought what a lot of people I polled use for whipped cream. A boxed mix for Creme Chantilly, in the photo above on the right. While it wasn't great, as you can imagine, it was okay. It tasted more of meringue than cream. I then made a quick syrup of equal parts water and sugar and cooked the pistachios in the syrup until they were bright in color and sticky. They were a pretty addition to the parfait.

Blood Orange Curd Parfait
Adapted from The Kitchn by Rebekah Peppler
makes about 1 1/2 cups
½ cup pistachios

¼ cup water

¼ cup granulated sugar
4 blood oranges, juiced and zested

2 lemons, juiced and zested

3 eggs

1 yolk

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

8 tablespoons unsalted butter; cut into small pieces
½ cup heavy whipping cream

First make the candied pistachios. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in pistachios and cook until the liquid is almost gone and the pistachios are coated with a fine candy coating. Remove from heat and spread pistachios to cool on a square of foil. While the pistachios are still slightly wet sprinkle with a little sugar so that they sparkle and are a little crunchy.
For the curd, whisk together the juice and zests, eggs, yolk and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and stir mixture with a wooden until thickened and you can draw a line across the back of your spoon (about 20 minutes). It should be the consistency of a loose pudding. Remove the bowl from heat and stir in the butter until smooth and creamy. Pass through a fine mesh strainer. Discard zest and any curdled egg bits. Chill completely.
Once the curd is chilled, whisk the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Fold together half of the blood orange curd with the whipped cream.
Ladle curd into cups, top with cream and sprinkle with pistachios.


  1. Aw, that's so pretty. I love the candied pistachios. I am relating to the creamsicle notion, too, though. Sometimes, you've just got to break down and do what the locals do.

  2. Yes, I figured I might as well join them:) It will work just fine for the few times I need whipped cream for something. B, wants me to make the curd into a pie so I may tackle that with the leftover.