Orange Tart with Cranberry Orange Sauce and Candied Walnut

Orange Tart with Cranberry Orange Sauce and Candied Walnut, by Chef Cristina Jimenez of 32 East restaurant in Delray Beach. (Carline Jean, Sun Sentinel / December 11, 2012)

Nothing says winter like a sweet piece of citrus. It’s pure Florida sunshine.

Growing up in Missouri, the holidays officially began when the mailman delivered mysterious boxes of fragrant citrus to our doorstep. I found these special gifts from far-away family friends endlessly exotic. The cardboard crates held blemish-free, brightly-hued orbs, wrapped in tissue paper bearing the growers name. The fruit was nestled in neat rows in foam cradles. These Honeybells, Tangelos, Temples and Ruby Reds were a far cry from the mesh sacks stuffed with oranges from the supermarket.

Citrus also played a colorful part in our holiday decorating. Blushing grapefruits and sweet oranges were studded with cloves for centerpieces or displayed in wooden bowls alongside mixed nuts. Tangerines sat among the greenery and strands of real popcorn and cranberries draped across the mantle.

It’s no wonder that South Florida pastry chefs adore citrus. Three of them share citrus-inspired recipes for holiday desserts along with their Christmas memories from childhood.


Photos: Not at Comic-Con at TATE'S Comics

Happy baking and Happy Holidays!

claire@claireperez.com