Ever wonder how chefs segment citrus so beautifully? Known as suprêming, it’s all about knife skills.
“There’s a method for taking the skin off – not peeling it, but cutting the skin away,” explained executive chef Brenda Kieffer. “You cut each end off, and then you take your knife and cut the pith and the rind.”
Finally, cut along the membranes to remove the segments. Et voilà: suprêmed citrus.
Orange, kiwi, clementine. Lemon, pear, grapefruit. Area chefs put a sunny spin on their favorite seasonal fruits, preparing them in ways guaranteed to ease those winter doldrums.
“I like winter fruits because it means spring’s not that far away,” joked executive chef Fred Duerr of Rising Sun Inn in Franconia.
He recommends German pear cake, “an old Chef Tell recipe.”
“That’s the first dessert I learned to make with him. It left an impression on me,” Duerr recalled. “It’s got different textures – a creamy filling, the soft pear in it, and the dough’s a little crunchy and flaky.”
Also try spiced poached pears from executive chef Brenda Kieffer of Kieffer’s Appliances in Upper Gwynedd, celebrating its 100th anniversary.
“I think people need to remember to eat fruit in the winter,” she said. “Winter fruits, in general, are less delicate than summer fruits. They’re pretty hearty, so you can keep them in your refrigerator for quite a long time and enjoy them.”
Kieffer freezes cranberries to last all winter and tosses pomegranate seeds, called arils, on green salads for “a nice bit of color without using tomatoes.”
Another option: salad with fennel, oranges and almonds.
“I love oranges for their color and taste,” she described. “It’s a nice way to add acid that has a little sweetness to it.”
Speaking of citrus, how about a lemon and ricotta torte?
“It’s tart, yet again sweet and creamy and velvety,” said Bob Imperial, chef-owner of Imperial’s Catering in Trappe, who served the torte at a themed dinner show featuring Ol’ Blue Eyes.
“We had a Frank Sinatra impersonator a few months ago, and that was one of his (Frank’s) favorites,” Imperial explained. “Every time we do it, people ask to take it home. It’s popular.”
Come rain or come shine…
Salad with Fennel, Oranges and Almonds
2 heads Boston lettuce
½ head fennel, sliced thin
2 oranges, suprêmed (see note below)
¼ cup red onion, sliced thin
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ cup orange vinaigrette dressing (see recipe below)
Tear the lettuce into a bowl and add the fennel, oranges and onion. Add the dressing and almonds. Toss.
Orange Vinaigrette Dressing
¼ cup fresh orange juice, reduced to a syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup vegetable oil or a mixture of vegetable oil and almond or walnut oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Whisk juice, honey, vinegar and mustard together; whisk in oil until slightly thickened.
Note: Suprêmed means skin and pith cut off and segments cut along the membranes.
Recipe courtesy of executive chef Brenda Kieffer
Spiced Poached Pears
4 ripe, yet very firm Bosc or Bartlett pears
4 cups water
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
4-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 star anise pod, broken in half
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
Vanilla frozen yogurt
Peel the pears and cut them in half from top to bottom and then in quarters lengthwise. Core each pear half by scooping out the center with a melon baller or spoon. Put the water, honey and sugar to a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until the sugar and honey are dissolved, then add the ginger, cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick.
Slip the pears into the liquid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pears can be just pierced with a fork. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon to a container. Refrigerate the pears. Bring the poaching liquid to a low boil and simmer for 30 minutes until syrupy and reduced by half. Cool. Serve in a bowl with a scoop of frozen yogurt and the reduced poaching liquid drizzled over.
Recipe courtesy of executive chef Brenda Kieffer
German Pear Cake
Servings: 6 to 8
1 recipe 1-2-3 dough (see recipe below)
4 to 5 large pears
½ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
½ cup heavy cream
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
½ cup apricot preserves, heated
Prepare crust and refrigerate (while making filling). Peel pears, core, cut them in half. Score pears on rounded side, set aside. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Press chilled dough into prepared pan to cover the bottom and come halfway up the sides of the pan. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over the bottom crust. Put prepared pears in the pan, rounded side up. Fill spaces with pieces of pear.
Mix cream, lemon juice, eggs, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla and sour cream together in a bowl. Beat with a whisk to combine all ingredients well. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour the cream mixture over the pears and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the pears are tender and the filling is set. Cool slightly and brush the top of the cake with warm apricot preserves.
1 cup sugar
2 cups butter or margarine, softened
3 cups all-purpose flour
Combine ingredients quickly to form a dough. Do not overwork mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.
Recipe courtesy of Rising Sun Inn
Lemon & Ricotta Torte
3 cups lemon juice
4 cups sugar
4 cups ricotta cheese
2 cup cream cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
6 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
¼ cup cornstarch
Pie crust (see recipe below)
In a mixing bowl, add lemon juice, sugar, ricotta cheese, cream cheese and lemon zest. Mix with hand mixer until mixture is blended, approximately 3 minutes on medium speed. Slowly add egg yolks and eggs; mix with mixer for 2 to 3 minutes. Prepare crust and press into 10-inch greased cake pan. (Recipe follows.) Pour batter atop crust and bake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. Allow to cool in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Serve and enjoy.
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1 cup of sugar
½ cup of melted butter
Place graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix. Pour the melted butter into bowl and mix ingredients. Spray 10-inch cake pan well with cooking spray. Place the mixture on bottom of pan and spread evenly. Pour the above torte recipe over the crumb mixture and bake.
Recipe courtesy of Imperial’s Catering