Monday, February 15, 2010

Bergamot Dreams

You all know by now how I feel about the bergamot orange. It's my most beloved of the citrus, and next to the olive, my most loved fruit in general. The only thing the bergamot could do to make me happier would be increased availability. For years, I've longed for the day that other people started seeing this beautiful little guy and embracing the wonderful flavours bergamot can bring to nearly anything. I am, of course, always scouring the internet for new bergamot recipes. One thing I love the most about the "blogosphere" is that you have the opportunity to read and use recipes that simply never would have occurred to you to make otherwise. Recently, this happened to me when I was reading through my favourite food blogs. Lo and behold, a DUO of bergamot recipes on Hungry Cravings! Initially, I thought I would make her custard, but I am always so lazy about going to the store that the cream got in the way of me making these. Someday, someday. Instead, I chose to make these beautiful little bergamot dreams.

I zest all the oranges that don't go into curd or marmalade when I get them, then I dry the zest. Next year when I get more (somehow I believe I managed to miss this year's season. In fairness I really only need to place an order once every other year, given the quantities I buy at one shot), I think I may freeze some rinds so I'll have fresh bergamot zest available to me. Regardless, I only had dried zest but it still worked perfectly. I also increased the amount of juice, since where it comes to bergamot, subtlety is not something I know much about. My changes will be in italics, as per usual. For those without access to bergamot, feel free to make these with any other citrus. I can't imagine they wouldn't be just as good with another. Hope you enjoy!

"1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated Bergamot orange zest (1/2 tablespoon dried and crumbled zest)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Bergamot orange juice (4 tablespoons frozen then thawed juice)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar on medium until creamy. Add the orange zest and juice and mix on low until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough comes together, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. (At this point I chilled the dough for about 20 minutes because the extra juice I added made the dough slightly sticky. Chilling the dough is at least in part responsible for my increased baking time). Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking trays, roll each portion of dough into a ball, and arrange the balls about an inch apart. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom but still pale on top. Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool for about half an hour, or until barely warm (for me, because I don't use my heater in the winter, this was really only about 15 minutes). Roll each cookie in the remaining 2/3 cup of powdered sugar to coat.

Makes 32 to 34 cookies. Use lemons or limes if Bergamot oranges are unavailable. Cookies keep for several days in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. Perfect with a cup of Earl Grey tea. " (I got 20 cookies, but I probably made them a little big, and I did have to cook them 20 or 22 minutes)

My picture is not that great, as per usual, and I used less rolling sugar since I liked the sweetness it already had, so please go look at the original recipe to see how they really are supposed to look. :)

8 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, how have I not yet tried a bergamot orange? You describe them so poetically and dreamily - I'm eager to learn more about them now... Especially with your gorgeous cookie recipe to tempt me! :-)

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  2. Astra,

    Believe me when I tell you that you do NOT want to eat the bergamot like a regular orange! As wonderful as it is, it really should be treated more like a musky lemon or a Seville orange. Their juice and zest are just so wonderful, though, to cook and bake with. I think you could easily try this recipe out with lemon though, while you see about getting some bergamots.

    Bergamot is rather close to the end of its annual season, but if you ask a produce vendor who tends toward selling unusual fruits, you should be able to get some in. They're never cheap, but they're oh-so-worth it.

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  3. Anonymous5:20 am

    Dear Allie,
    I loved your recipes. Here in Greece it's bergamot season and we try to stock. The traditional recipe for bergamots is glyko koutaliou (literally: spoon sweet) made with bergamot peel, after it has been zested and sugar. Yummy. I would like to find bergamot chutney recipes, have you got any clues?
    Miena

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  4. Hi there, Miena,

    I'm glad you're enjoying my recipes! Bergamot season is wonderful, isn't it? And spoon sweets are even more so!

    I've never made a bergamot chutney before, but I did find this recipe:

    http://www.aayisrecipes.com/2007/02/03/narnga-battekanchi-batte-chutney/

    Alternately, you could make a regular orange chutney (like this one: http://chutneyrecipe.us/2007/04/orange-chutney.html) and increase the sugar a bit to account for the bitterness.

    Please let me know how the chutney experiments go!

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  5. Anonymous9:45 am

    Thank you Allie for your prompt response plus ideas for my bergamot chutney. I will try and combine the indian recipes with the trad. english-type chutney and see where it gets me. That's how I made a kum quat chutney over Xmas. Will be back to update!
    Milena

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  6. Milena,

    You're most welcome! I hope the chutney works out well, and I can wait to hear the results!

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  7. how nice. just made a bergamot almond cake. 2 bergamots, (peel with some pith) 4 oz almond meal, 1/2 cup sugar, 4 egg yolks - cuisinart away. make meringue out of the 4 egg whites. stir in 1/3 - fold in 2/3. bake in 8" pan for 45 minutes at 350. meanwhile, make a syrup with the juice of the 2 bergamots and 1/2 cup sugar. when cake is done, pour syrup over cake. cool and remove from pan. slight bitterness in the aftertaste. amazing. enjoy.

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  8. Jerome, that sounds fantastic - thanks for the recipe!!

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