Why orange is so appealing!

AS a child, Jamie Schler, author of Orange Appeal, ate the fruit straight from its skin, but as an adult, she began using it more and more in baking and cooking.

“I find myself stirring spoonfuls of marmalade into cake and brownie batters, sauces and marinades.

“Our favourite desserts, like rice pudding and sponge cakes, are all transformed by the flavour of orange.”

To make orange sugar, Schler blends finely-grated orange zest with sugar; she uses it like cinnamon sugar to sprinkle over porridge, pancakes or French toast.

She macerates strips of orange zest in vodka to make orange extract.

For seasoning fish or sprinkling over sautéed chicken, she makes orange salt from grated orange zest blended with salt and dried in a low oven.

Schler also found that the orange is adapted to both sweet and savoury dishes, and goes well with bold and delicate spices from cumin and chilli to cinnamon and ginger, and with herbs like mint, thyme and coriander.

She said: “The orange marries beautifully with fish and seafood and with poultry and meat.

“Sweet potatoes, squashes, fennel and carrots go well with the flavour of oranges.

“So do many fruits, as well as nuts, chocolate, vanilla, wine and brandy. Oranges go with just about everything.”

Navette Cookies from Marseilles

THESE wonderful cookies are fragrant with orange blossom water and orange zest. Tender on the inside with the barest crunch on the outside when warm, navettes become crispier as they cool, all the better to dunk them in a mug of coffee or tea, or a glass of milk.

Navettes are shaped like the little boats they are named after.

For using orange zest, buy organic oranges or untreated, unwaxed citrus. Scrub the fruit under warm, running water and dry it.


  • 100g granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 rounded tsp orange zest
  • 3 tsp orange blossom water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • Milk, for brushing


In a medium mixing bowl, beat sugar and egg on medium-high speed until pale, thick, and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in zest, orange blossom water, and oil.

Stir salt into flour and then beat two-thirds of flour into batter in two or three additions. Finish folding flour in by hand, kneading until all of flour has been added and a smooth dough has developed. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 180º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator and slightly flatten ball into a disc. Cut dough into 12 even wedges. Roll each wedge into a 7cm-long oval log and place on prepared baking sheet.

Shape pieces of dough into little boats by pressing to flatten just a bit, and pinching the two ends into rounded points. Make a 5cm slit down centre of each with a sharp knife, cutting only halfway down into dough, and carefully push the slit open slightly. Brush each cookie lightly with milk.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden; tips and undersides should be a deeper golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on a rack. Store in a covered container.

Chocolate-Orange Marmalade Brownies

THERE may be nothing better than luscious, moist brownies of deep, dark chocolate infused with the kick of Grand Marnier and bitter orange marmalade.


  • 60g unsweetened or bitter baking chocolate
  • 30g orange-infused 70 per cent dark chocolate or plain semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 105g all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 170g light or golden brown sugar
  • 50g granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 3 heaping tbsp bitter orange marmalade


Preheat oven to 180º. Lightly butter a 23cm square pan or line with foil or parchment paper, leaving several inches overhanging two opposite sides for lifting brownies out of pan; lightly butter foil or parchment.

Slowly melt both chocolates together in a double boiler over simmering hot water. Remove from heat when all but ¼ of chocolate has melted; then stir vigorously until all chocolate is melted and smooth. If necessary, return to heat until completely melted. Let cool slightly.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, whisking to blend.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars together until light, smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, one by one, just until combined. Add vanilla, Grand Marnier and melted chocolate, and beat until smooth and blended, scraping down bowl as necessary.

Fold in dry ingredients by hand until well-blended and smooth. Do not overmix. Gently swirl in orange marmalade, completely combining for an overall orange flavour, or combine less thoroughly to create small pockets of orange marmalade; scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth.

Alternatively, pour batter into prepared pan, spoon marmalade on to brownies and swirl in with a knife. Bake for about 30 minutes, until centre is set but still moist.

Remove from oven and let cool on a rack before slicing. If pan was lined with foil or parchment, allow brownies to cool for 10 minutes before lifting them out to a cooling rack; this stops brownies from baking further in the hot pan.

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