I love sweets. LOVE sweets. I grew up with a grandmother who believed in the healing power of ice cream. For company, especially around the holidays, I remember the sight of a spice cake sitting on her dining room table. I can still remember the smell that would fill her house when she had made a cooked caramel icing (a recipe that, 10 years after her passing, I still cannot locate). My grandfather had an amazing way of making cinnamon toast in the mornings... the closest I've come to that taste is the cinnamon brioche at Please and Thank You, where a hefty slathering of butter, sugar and cinnamon make your teeth scream but make your tummy so happy.
Whether it was the influence of her mother's or not, my mom was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was 30. Unfortunately for her, it was not a case that went away after baby, but rather stayed on, and ravaged her body with its associates- kidney disease and eventually failure, bleeding in the eyes, Alzheimers... It was a sickness that ultimately led to her passing.
When, several weeks ago, I felt that something in my body and was just off, I sat down with an expert and decided on a month long test of cutting out some of the major food bad guys. For a month, I went without dairy of any kind, and cut out all refined sugars. Honey was my savior. Luckily, it seems that allergies and pre-diabetes don't exist here, but I do seem to have a sensitivity to an overload of dairy and refined sugar. Still, not going overboard after my diet restrictions were lifted was a little difficult, and when my body started fuctioning normally once again, the man and I decided that while whipped cream, a nice pecorino cheese, or a couple of lumps in my coffee weren't terrible on occasion, we needed to make some changes in our eating habits. My insides- and my rounder-than-it-used-to-be tummy would thank me later.
Still, I have urges to satisfy. While I've been pretty proud at my replacing a milky, sugary latte with a plain double espresso, and only taking a bite of the shared dessert we order, I still have cravings for sweet.
Enter Citrus in Honey Syrup.
Beautiful, tasty, and with zero white sugar, this dessert can be perfect on a plate alone, on a beautful flan (if you, like me, aren't watching your dairy intake), dropped into bourbon, or sliced up on a salad. Simple to make, but with a definite wow factor, these little babies have helped me skip the Italian Creme Cake.
Peel 8 citrus of your choice with a sharp knife, being sure to remove any pith. I used navel orages, but blood oranges or grapefruit are just as beautiful, and just as tasty, if not more so.
Squeeze any leftover juice out of the peel and into a large saucepan along with the juice of a lemon, 2-3 cups of water, and a quarter cup of local honey, as well as a teaspoon of vanilla, if that's your thing.
Bring the mixture to a boil until it begins to thicken just a bit. Remove from the heat and drop in the fruit.
Allow to cool in the pan, then remove fruit into a serving dish with a slotted spoon, and strain syrup over them to remove any lemon seeds or extra pulp.
** I am not a healthcare expert. If you have questions about your diet, please consult a professional **
Yours, most sincerely, Joyce