Magazine article Sunset

Liquid Gold: From Delicate to Robust, Honey Flavors Dishes Savory and Sweet

Magazine article Sunset

Liquid Gold: From Delicate to Robust, Honey Flavors Dishes Savory and Sweet

Article excerpt

It remains one of nature's miracles--that process by which buzzing honeybees transform flower dust into edible gold. Aristotle called the result "the nectar of the gods."

But all honey is not the same. Nuances of flavor and color vary according to the source flower. "It's like wine in that way," says Helene Marshall, who produces honey in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Spencer.

Increasingly, diners--and cooks--are seeking out specific specialty honeys, from delicately perfumed sage to citrusy orange blossom to tangy avocado. Many people are surprised by the range of flavors. Richard Spiegel of Volcano Island Honey Company in Hawaii says most people can't fined words to describe the taste of his creamy organic kiawe honey. "It's very light and subtle, but rich and tropical at the same time."

The distinctive flavors of Western honey shine in an equally surprising range of dishes, from salad to dessert.

Honey-Orange
Upside-Down Cake

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/2 hours

NOTES: Serve this cake with lightly
sweetened softly whipped cream.

MAKES: 6 to 8 servings

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
  1 unpeeled orange (10 oz.),
    rinsed and very thinly sliced
    crosswise (about 1/8 in. thick;
    discard ends)
3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter, at room
    temperature
  1 cup sugar
  2 large eggs
  1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk

1. In a 9- to 10-inch nonstick, ovenproof
frying pan (with sloping sides) over
medium-high heat, stir honey and orange
juice until boiling. Cook without
stirring until mixture is foamy, slightly
thickened, and reaches 230[degress] (carefully
tilt pan so mixture is deep enough to
register on thermometer), 2 to 4 minutes.
Chill until thickened, about 15
minutes. Slightly overlap orange slices
in concentric circles over syrup.

2. In a large bowl, with a mixer on high
speed, beat butter and sugar until
smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating
well after each addition. Beat in orange
peel.

3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking
powder, and salt. Stir half the flour
mixture into butter mixture just until
incorporated. Stir in milk, then remaining
flour mixture, just until incorporated.
Carefully scrape batter over orange
slices in pan and spread level.

4. Bake in a 350[degrees] regular or convection
oven until a wooden skewer inserted in
the center comes out clean, 35 to 40
minutes for regular, 25 to 30 minutes
for convection. Let cool for 5 minutes.

5. Invert a flat plate over pan. Invert
cake onto plate and lift pan off, being
careful with hot syrup. Let cool completely,
then cut into wedges.

Per serving: 442 cal., 39% (171 cal.) from fat; 5 g
protein; 19 g fat (11 g sat.); 68 g carbo (1.3 g fiber);
331 mg sodium; 101 mg chol.

Apple and Endive Salad
with Honey Vinaigrette

PREP TIME: About 15 minutes

NOTES: Toast pecans in a 350[degrees] regular or convection
oven until lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes.

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

  2 tablespoons orange blossom or other mild honey
  2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
    or white wine vinegar
  1 tablespoon grape-seed oil or mild olive oil
  2 heads red or white Belgian endive (about 11 oz.
    total), rinsed, ends trimmed, and cut lengthwise
    into 1/4-inch-wide slivers
  1 sweet apple, such as Fuji (about 8 oz,), rinsed,
    cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup pecan halves, toasted (see notes)
    and coarsely chopped
  2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
    Salt

In a large bowl, mix honey, vinegar, and oil. … 
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