Tender Buttons (Treats from Orangeriet)
Last Saturday spring was all achirp in Copenhagen so we went for a leisurely stroll. Before we knew it, we found ourselves at an exhibition of the quintessentially Danish artist Hammershøi at Statens Museum for Kunst and topped it up with an impromptu lunch at Orangeriet. That’s where the buttons came into the picture.This place was recommended to us by some of our enviously well-informed foodie friends from Berlin (kind of embarassing to be out-dined by tourists). It’s this little place on the edge of the old royal gardens in Copenhagen, decorated like a wet Scandinavian design dream version of a green house. Very attractive, particularly with the March sun gushing through the window frames.
Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and that, along with the flawless sweet section of their menu helped us look past a couple of unfortunate mishaps on the savoury front (dangerously hard roasted bread crumbs on the starter, overcooked poultry as part of an otherwise delicious main and thin coffee with the dessert). So that’s why I want to focus on the good parts and am willing to chalk the rest up to bad luck.
Basically the dessert was spot on. And that meant I had to order the petits fours too, just to make more notes (literally) and satisfy my curiosity. It’s not just about my sweet tooth at this point. It’s just as much about an eagerness to know more and be inspired by clever ideas. One of them was the “tender button”, or so I’ve chosen to call it: A disk of white chocolate with dried apricot, pistachio, candied orange peel and some lemon powder. Half an hour later I was at the supermarket buying oranges for the buttons. That’s how fast I operate. Deadly.
Tender Buttons from Orangeriet/Candied Orange Peel and Orange Syrup
- White chocolate
- Whole, unsalted pistachios
- Dried apricots
- Lemon powder or another tangy detail like it
- 1-2 organic oranges
- 1/2 deciliter cane sugar
- 1/2 deciliter tap water
Okay so this is hardly rocket science, but the candied orange peel might need some explanation:
Add sugar and water to a saucepan and allow the sugar to melt at medium heat. Peel the orange(s) with a julienne grater straight into the syrup, making sure to make the peel strings about as long as the orange is tall. That will leave you some room for them to break and still be long enough to look nice on the chocolate buttons. Then let the strings simmer on low heat until they are glossy and transparent, but make sure that the syrup doesn’t turn into caramel before that happens. If so add equal parts sugar and water until the syrup is runny again. Looks a little like this when it’s just about over-done:
When the strings are transparent, fish them out of the syrup, untangle them and let them dry on a baking sheet of sorts. And don’t discard the syrup! Squeeze the orange(s) straight into the syrup and let it simmer, only for a couple of minutes until it has reached syrup consistency again. Pour into a disinfected jar or glass bottle and store in the fridge. I used some of it soaked into some freshly baked financiers (little marzipan and vanilla cakes) and served them with vanilla ice cream. Another lot ended up drizzled over T’s perfect sweet crêpes with some of the leftover orange peel. Will bring you pictures and the recipe in my next post.
While the orange peel is drying, roast the pistachios lightly and cut the apricots into bite size (I just halved them but depending on size you might want to slice them instead). Prepare another sheet of baking paper on a flat surface, and melt the white chocolate over low heat in a bain marie but be careful as white chocolate can be a very fidgety fellow. I sure don’t get him, that’s for sure. Then take a blob of the melted chocolate and distribute it in a small circle on the baking paper. Top up with apricot, pistachios and orange peel (and lemon powder if you have some – sea salt might also be a nice addition) and continue until the chocolate is almost gone.
Before you just rinse off the leftover smudges of chocolate in the bain marie, be a good citizen and use it up instead. Chop up the remaining nuts, orange peel and apricots, add a bit of sea salt and mix the lot in the chocolate bowl, making sure they soak up every last bit of choc. Then arrange in little piles on the baking sheet and allow to set either in the freezer (best solution) or the fridge (ok solution).
That’s it. Now you can play with your own buttons at home.