Rachel Laudan

An Orange (or Tangerine) for Christmas

Yesterday I talked with a fried who commented that Christmas was a time for memories.  So here are a couple of mine.

As children, our Christmas stockings always had a tangerine in the toe. With luck we got a second from the wooden bowl in the breakfast room, its peel glowing, its juice so sweet and fresh.

Then years later a Swedish-American friend, a fine linguist and an excellent cook, sent her thoughts on oranges for Christmas in Sweden as a Christmas letter.  I reproduce it here.

A Swedish Orange Cake–Modified

Imagine Sweden a hundred years ago; 90 per cent of the population was rural, the country was poor, and there was not much of either communications or roads. The think  of what a fresh orange would mean at Christmas time.

Take one large fresh orange (wash with soap and water–you will use all of it–rinse and dry).  Chop in large pieces and put in blender (a tablespoon of undiluted frozen orange juice or any liquid is helpful if the orange is dry) and chop but not finely. Set aside.

Measure out a cup of raisins. Set aside.

In a large bowl, measure out:

1. Betty Crocker Golden Cake (with pudding added) Mix

2. 4 eggs

3. 1 cup water

4. 1/2 cup sour cream (I use non-fat yogurt)

5. 1/2 cup cooking oil

6. 1/4 cup orange juice (I use triple sec–but then I don’t live in Sweden a hundred years ago

If you have cake mix without pudding, you can add a package of instant vanilla pudding mix–experiment and see what you like best.

Duncan Hines or whatever will of course do as well.

Then beat all together (I use hand held beaters) slowly until mixed, then NO more than three minutes on high. Stir in reserved fruit gently. All of this should take about ten minutes.

Find a Bundt pan and spray for less than 30 seconds with Pam OR cream a Bundt pan with butter for 5 minutes–your choice. Pam works better.

Bake in a preheated (you knew that) 325 Fahrenheit oven for 60-70 minutes. Cool, better after a day. You can frost it with 1 cup powder sugar mixed with 1 tbsp melted butter and about two tbsp undiluted frozen orange juice (but defrost it).

OR–the unmodified version. Take a pound of butter and a pound of sugar and stir for an hour. Write me for the rest. . . . .

Apologies for Hirams Kokbok.

Thank you Christina Blatts Paulston.  For the friendship and for the recipe.  And may all of you have oranges or tangerines to brighten up the darkness of winter.  Happy Christmas.

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4 thoughts on “An Orange (or Tangerine) for Christmas

  1. Ben

    The good thing about spending Christmas in Mexico is that they are not very dark. Merry Christmas to you and your family my friend! :)

  2. Mariana Kavroulaki

    60 years ago, oranges and tangerines were also associated with special Christmas gifts in central and N. Greece. Even kids sang kalanda (carols) in exchange for cookies, nuts and one orange or two tangerines.

    Happy Holidays and many wishes for 2011, Rachel!

    1. Rachel Laudan Post author

      I’m surprised that even in the Mediterranean, oranges and tangerines were such a treat.

      Happy Holidays to you Mariana. Rachel


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