Over the past few days, central Pennsylvania has undergone a series of highly erratic meteorological mood swings. In only a week we’ve experienced wet, autumnal rains, luxurious, spring-like highs in the sixties; and now, the thermometer is threatening to drop into the single digits. And with the cold weather, there has arrived a flurry of snow, whispering away any thought of spring life or autumnal color. With what appears to be a long winter ahead of us, the thought of weathering several months without seeing much of the sun seems almost too much to bear. However, there does exist a multicultural remedy for winter’s depressing power: oranges!
With a fiery orange peel bursting with volatile oils, it’s not a stretch to link the Asian orange fruit with our presently absent sun. Perhaps this connection provides some explanation for the tradition of gifting oranges and tangerines to loved ones around the Christmas and Chinese New Year season. In 17th-18th century England, a twist was added to this classic gift. In order to maximize the fragrance and purportedly healing properties of the orange, gift-givers in this time began decoratively studding their gifted fruits with cloves, a tradition that still exists today.
Now, because I have a habit of zesting nearly every orange that enters the kitchen, I haven’t been able to make my own cloved orange this year (a great guide on making one for your home can be found here: Easy-to-Make Pomander); but, I thought I could translate the flavors of this classic gift into a holiday treat that’s equally perfect for sharing with the ones you love! Because cloved oranges seem to originate in England, I thought a fitting pastry pairing would be the popover: an American take on the classic Yorkshire pudding.
Cloved Orange Popovers
Yields 12 popovers
- 3 room-temperature eggs
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of finely grated orange zest
- 1 1/4 cups milk (non-dairy milk worked very well)
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter + 1 Tablespoon melted butter for coating the pan
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- Preheat your oven to 450 F / 230 C
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and orange zest together until combined.
- Mix the milk and 3 Tablespoons butter into the egg mixture, stirring well.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and clove.
- Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth.
- Brush the cups of a muffin tin with the remaining tablespoon of melted butter, and place in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove tin from the oven and fill each cup halfway with your popover batter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops have risen and are golden brown.
- Enjoy immediately! These popovers have a wonderfully crunchy exterior (and creamy interior) that will fade as they cool.
As always, thanks for stopping by for the excavation! I hope to see you back on Saturday where we’ll be digging up a modern twist on the classic Christmas cookie!
Stay warm and keep digging!