It’s a very rare thing that I order dessert when eating out. In the vast majority of cases, I can make something just as good – if not better – at home in my own time. Yeah, this probably sounds insufferable, but it also happens to be true.
There is, however, one place where I do order dessert on a fairly regular basis. It’s a little bistro in my neighborhood known as Mona’s Table. Why there? Because Mona is one of the best in the business. Pretty much everything that comes out of her kitchen is culinary gold.
A couple weeks ago, Mr. Twistie and I went there for lunch one afternoon and I had to try out the blood orange polenta upside down cake she had in the dessert case. I flipped. It was a delicate but textured cake with whole slices of blood orange – peel, pith, and all – festooning the top. Leaving the pith in might sound odd to some of you, but trust me, it gave a slight bitter edge that was just enough to prevent any hint of cloying sweetness. The whipped creme fraiche on top was a surprisingly lovely touch. It added a slight tang that would have been missing with whipped cream but perfectly lifted the entire dessert.
Of course I raved. I asked Mona if she would be willing to give up her secrets. Little did I know that the recipe had been published in the March issue of Bon Appetit! That’s good news, because it means it’s readily available online at Epicurious. In fact, that’s where Mona said she found it. I went right home and looked it up.
I tried it out at home, and lo and behold, it was just as good when I made it. Trust me, this is surprisingly easy and fabulously elegant. If you have access to blood oranges, this is a winner beyond expression, especially if you prefer your desserts on the slightly less sweet side.