These indulgent fondant cakes perfectly combine slightly acidic blood oranges with rich dark chocolate and highlight the complementary flavors of both ingredients.
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Have you been enjoying blood orange season yet? From December to March or April, depending on where you live, blood oranges are inviting you to feast on their gorgeous, jewel-like ruby flesh. Their taste is ever-so-slightly more acidic than regular oranges (especially the Moro variety), but you can of course use (and eat!) them every way you’d use regular oranges.
Nerd alert: do you know what causes the flesh of blood oranges to turn red? Antioxidants! Blood oranges contain anthocyanin, a natural pigment that develops when blood oranges ripen during warm days tempered by cool nights. Interestingly, anthocyanins can color fruits from deep red to violet. They are what give blueberries their gorgeous indigo color, eggplants their deep violet shade, and—you guessed it—blood oranges their ruby red tone.
What I’ve always found fascinating is that blood oranges are not always the same color. Sometimes blood oranges will only be streaked with red, whereas other times, they’ll be fully deep crimson red. I find it usually depends on how far you are into the blood orange season, but it can also depend on the variety you buy. I just love the surprise of slicing into a blood orange to discover its particular shade! File this under: the miracles of nature.
I had long been wanting to create a dark chocolate and blood orange dessert, not only because the color of both ingredients makes for such dramatic plates, but also because both flavors work so incredibly together. The slightly acidic flavor of blood oranges cuts through the richness of dark chocolate, while also complementing its fruity flavor. In this recipe, the dark chocolate fondant cakes are infused with blood orange zest and have a rich, barely set interior that’s close to that of a lava cake. But what makes the fondant cakes extra special is the blood orange segment syrup: the syrup adds an extra orange kick, and the segments sit on top of and around the fondant cakes like jewels.
You’ll need eight blood oranges to make this recipe. If you can’t find blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges make for a fine substitute: their coral flesh would be just as spectacular with these fondant cakes. If blood oranges and Cara Caras are off-season, pick up Navel oranges and don’t look back. I promise you’re in for a treat, regardless of the variety you choose to use.
If you’re unsure how to zest or segment the oranges, scroll down to the recipe notes for instructions.
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