As children, we loved those creamy orange frozen treats on a stick, and often ended up with sticky orange faces, never mind the unnaturally bright orange color. As warmer weather approaches, it’s time to bring back that childhood delight, but with a slightly tipsy adult option: a splash of orange liqueur. This creamy dessert, with both mascarpone and whipped cream to balance the sweetness of the orange, is a sophisticated way to finish a spring meal.
4 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
½ cup mascarpone cheese, softened
3 tablespoons orange liqueur
2 cups chilled whipping cream
For the orange glaze topping:
½ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
1 Mandarin orange, thinly sliced, cut into small triangles
mint leaves, to garnish
Fill a medium saucepan with 3 inches of hot water and set over low heat. Do not allow the water to boil. Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar in a heatproof bowl that just fits into the pan without touching the water. Using an electric mixer, beat at medium-high speed until the beaters leave tracks on the base of the bowl, then beat at high speed for about 7 minutes until the egg whites have become very thick and form stiff peaks. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue beating the egg white mixture for 2-3 minutes more until it is cool.
Fold in the partially thawed orange juice and the finely minced zest. Whip the chilled cream until it forms soft peaks and fold gently into the egg white mixture. Whisk 3 tablespoons of orange liqueur into the softened mascarpone and gently fold into the mixture.
Spoon into a 6-cup ring mold. Gently shake the pan from side to side to remove any air bubbles and to level the mixture in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
[Chef’s Notes: Beating the egg whites over hot water helps to coagulate the egg proteins and firm up the meringue, as well as to kill any harmful bacteria. The cream of tartar adds stability to the egg whites.
When folding in new ingredients, always use a very gentle hand and move the spatula in a figure 8 shape to incorporate the flavors without deflating the egg whites.
When whipping cream, it helps to use a metal bowl that has been chilled in the freezer for several minutes.]
Prepare the glaze:
Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur with the orange marmalade, blending well to form a syrupy consistency.
Supreme the mandarin orange, removing the segments and leaving behind the pith and membranes.
To unmold, dip the frozen ring mold in warm water for about 5 seconds and wipe the base. Invert a serving plate over the mold, and holding it tightly against the mold, turn over together, then lift off the mold. To decorate whole, drizzle the orange glaze over the top and garnish with the mandarin orange slices and mint leaves, if desired.
If you prefer, you may slice an individual serving from the ring and set it on its side on the serving plate. Drizzle with the orange glaze and garnish with mandarin orange slices and mint leaves. Serve immediately.
Store the remainder in the freezer.
Recipe and photo by Mark Tafoya