Even though their name, tangerine, conjures up images of bustling souks and Moorish architecture for me, these little mandarin oranges have been cultivated in China and Japan for more than 3,00 years. They got their name because Tangiers is the port they were shipped from, bound for Europe and America in the 1800’s.
It seems about that many years ago that I was a little kid. Since their prime season is in the winter, as children our Christmas stockings were always filled with candy canes, assorted nuts, coloring books, and tangerines. So, I associate them with Christmas.
And it was during the holidays this year that I found myself faced with a 5-pound bag of the little cuties – organic, no less – and wondering what on Earth to do with so many, when I struck gold!
Well, golden-orange. I found cakes made using many different types of citrus, and almond meal. Baking with almonds goes back hundreds of years, and I found recipes of Spanish, Middle-Eastern, and Italian origin.
I sought out the commonalities in each recipe, put them all together, and created my own delicious recipe. Where our food comes from, it’s provenance, has always been important to me. It’s something that was lost when our food started coming in boxes. The act of spending time making this cake brings the rich history of many different centuries and cultures right into my kitchen.
I’m making this one for a dear friend whose parents and brother are visiting her this weekend in her new home. This is truly a special occasion, and needs a special cake!
Next time you’re in town visiting, I’ll happily make one for us to share. But, call ahead, it’s not available in a box yet!
P.S. – If you are interested in my recipe, please leave me a note in the comments and I will gladly share it with you.