As I’ve mentioned before, when it’s citrus season in Arizona, there’s no escaping the hordes of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit that go rolling through the streets like the eleventh plague of Egypt (but, you know, the good kind of plague). This past week, I once again found myself in possession of a superabundance of oranges.
I’ll tell you why.
As a nutrition student, I’ve made it my project to volunteer for a local nonprofit called Save the Family by participating in their sack lunch program. Once a month, I make 15-20 sack lunches for the attendees of their many programs (GED classes, career training, etc.). It’s a great way to volunteer from home on my own time. Plus, it has to do with food! (And if you live in the Phoenix area, I encourage you to get involved!) For the month of March, my Meetup group with the longest name in Meetup.com history–the East Valley Catholic Stay-at-Home Moms–was looking for something to do for our semiannual service project. We ended up settling on providing 50 sack lunches for Save the Family, with each mom supplying one item to go in the lunches. As it turned out, one of the ladies got a friend with an orange tree to donate oranges….lots and lots of oranges. Even after packing the 50 sack lunches AND having my husband take a bag of oranges to give away at work, I still had a dozen oranges squeaking around in the fruit crisper in my fridge. What to do, what to do?
Here’s what to do! Make orange granita with an unusual twist. This is one of the few recipes I’ve found that actually uses up more than a single orange at a time. It knocked out six of those bad boys. Yessssssss! From the first time I made granita, I’ve been a fan–it’s such a fun, versatile (not to mention low calorie) dessert. This version combines tangy orange juice with a maple-cinnamon cream for a sophisticated version of the Creamsicle. (There is such a thing, right?) All in all a unique, refreshing warm weather treat for those of us who are experiencing Citrus March Madness (and 97 degree days in April).
Maple Orange Creamsicle Granita
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 c. fresh-squeezed orange juice (from about 5 large oranges)
5 Tbsp. maple syrup, divided
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
1 large orange, peel and pith removed and flesh divided into segments
1. Stir 2 Tbsp. of maple syrup into orange juice. Transfer to a shallow 1.5 quart dish. Freeze 2 hours, stirring and scraping with a fork every 30 minutes.
2. When ready to serve, combine yogurt, remaining 3 Tbsp. maple syrup, and cinnamon and divide between four bowls or small Mason jars. Using a fork, scrape granita into flaky crystals and place on top of yogurt mixture. Top with orange segments.