Blood Orange & Pistachio Fortune Cookies
February 4, 2019
Happy Chinese New Year
To everyone who celebrates the Chinese New Year…CHEERS & happy year of the pig! This time of the year has always been one of my favorite celebrations. From the bright red that litters the streets of my hometown to the over-the-top family gatherings & parties, I’ve loved it all. Yet, as an international student in the United States, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss & guilt for being so far away from family & festivity.
Just to clear the air, these cookies have absolutely no relation to Chinese cuisine & culture — they are very much white by nature. I honestly hadn’t even planned to use this bake for a Chinese New Year celebration, intending it to be more valentines-centered (peep the photoshoot). However, I realized that between Chinese New Year & Valentines, the differences are far fewer than they may seem.
Personally, I think Western culture has such a skewed perception when it comes to love on Valentines Day. There is so much emphasis placed on love between couple(s) as opposed to the love shared between family & friends. And while Chinese New Year celebrates the beginning of the lunar calendar, I believe it celebrates the love that is lacking on Valentines Day. The love between family & friends is just as important, if not more, than that between lovers.
Among almond & ginger, orange or mandarin often frequents Chinese desserts & pastries as a flavor component. It’s one of those fruits that almost everyone growing up in China expects to eat as part of their mid-day snack and is even used in rituals to honor deceased relatives & ancestors.
Seeing as the fruit plays such an important role in Chinese culture & lifestyle, I thought they could help improve the rather vanilla flavor profile of fortune cookies. While typically, Chinese cuisine incorporates oranges in candies through a drying process that intensifies the citrus notes in the orange, I opted to use fresh orange zest to better flavor my batter. Paired with Western influences such as the source of 90% of my baking inspiration aka The Great British Bake Off, dark chocolate, & pistachio and you’ve got the perfect mid-day snack. And tbh, fortune cookies are quite fun.
Regardless what you’re celebrating in the coming weeks, this is a time of celebration, prosperity, & happiness. If you need a Valentines, I’ll be there for you. If you need someone to geek out over traditional Chinese New Year traditions, I’ll definitely be there for you.
Ingredients (adapted from Paul Hollywood)
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 + 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. orange zest
- 3 tbsp. salted pistachios, chopped optional
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate optional
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, vegetable oil, and orange zest. Whisk well to incorporate, but avoid aerating the mixture too much.
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix the sugar in and set aside.
- Slowly add the egg white mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking carefully to avoid incorporating large air bubbles into the batter. Add food coloring at this stage if desired.
- Place 1 tbsp. of batter on a parchment (or silicone mat) lined baking sheet and spread into a thin circle approximately 10cm in diameter with the back of a spoon.*
- Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown.
- Working quickly, remove the fortune cookies fromt the oven, place the fortune in the middle, fold in half, and crease along the sealed edge against the rim of a glass. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- To garnish, melt the chocolate over a bain marie/double boiler. Dip the ends of the fortune cookies in the chocolate, let the excess drip off, and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Leave to set on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Line a 9-inch circular cake tin with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides with oil or butter.
- Quarter and core the apples and cut into thin slices.
- Pour the hot bourbon caramel sauce into the pan, making sure to cover the entire bottom. Carefully place the sliced apples onto the sauce in the desired pattern.
- Spoon the cake batter over the top of the apples and spread into an even layer
- Bake in a preheated 175C/350F degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer insterted into the cake comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. *
- Serve with powdered sugar and whipped cream, if desired