Posted by: njbrown | October 31, 2009

Of lime juice, oranges and chocolate

The Key lime pots de creme from earlier this week led me to try to find a source of real Key lime juice.  Searching the internet yielded the site for Nellie and Joe’s, but shipping to Canada was prohibitive.  I was lamenting to my sister, who is a very resourceful person (and also lives on the other side of the border).  Marilyn volunteered to check her local gourmet store, but found that they didn’t have Key lime juice.

Often difficulties become challenges for me, so I went back to the Nellie and Joe’s site, but this time searched retailers.  Amazingly, the little, independent grocery store in the country two miles from my sister carries Nellie and Joe’s.  My sister zipped down the next day, and bought me four bottles – enough for eight pies or thirty-two pots de creme.  If the Canadian border authorities don’t create a problem, I will have a stash for many months.

After making the pots de creme, a vague memory of making oranges filled with a Grand Marnier orange mousse came to me.  I hadn’t made them for decades, but remember them being lovely.  This motivated me to search the house for my old recipe folder.  Two days of searching yielded nothing but frustration, and I began to question whether it had been thrown out along with many of my cookbooks and utensils.  However, last night I looked in one last place, and was thrilled to find it.  In reading through, it was a chronicle of more than forty years of food fashions.  One of the recipes is for a fruit ice that came from my grandmother, so it is at least a hundred years old.  In the clippings, I found “Instructions for Julia’s chocolate decorations” written on the back of an envelope.  These recipes will be the subject of many future blogs.

Before I found the binder, with the help of the net, I located Julia’s recipe for Mousse a L’Orange that must come from the second volume of Mastering…

Mousse a L’Orange (a frozen dessert)

“A becoming way to serve this delicate mousse is in the scooped-out halves of oranges”


  • 3 Tb orange liqueur
  • 3 or 4 bright-skinned oranges
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Orange juice
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 6 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tb granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 6 orange-shell cups, or dessert cups, or a serving bowl
  • Decorations:  Glazed orange peel, angelica cut into leaf shapes, mint leaves, or whipped cream


  1. Pour the liqueur into the measuring cup.
  2. Grate the colored part of the skins of 3 oranges and the 1/2 lemon into the cup.  Strain in enough orange juice so liquid measure 2 cups.
  3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon.
  4. Beat in the cornstarch and the orange juice mixture.
  5. Pour into the saucepan and stir over moderate heat with wooden spoon until mixture heats through and thickens, but does not come to the simmer, or a temperature of more than 170 degrees.  It should coat the spoon lightly.
  6. Remove from heat and beat a moment to stop the cooking.
  7. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed.
  8. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.
  9. Fold the egg whites into the hot orange mixture, and fold over the bowl of ice until thoroughly chilled so the custard will not separate.
  10. Beat the cream until stiff, and fold into the chilled mousse.
  11. Turn into orange-shell cups, dessert cups, or bowl.
  12. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight.
  13. Decorate the dessert just before serving.



  • A 1-qt. measuring cup
  • A 3-qt. mixing bowl
  • Wire whip or electric beater
  • Wooden spoon
  • Optional:  candy thermometer
  • Bowl with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
  • A 2 1/2 qt., heavy-bottomed enameled saucepan


My recipe from the binder is much simpler, but delicious as I recall.  The recipe is handwritten, so I have no idea where it came from.


Oranges Grand Marnier

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 3/4 c. shipped cream (1 c. unwhipped)
  • 3 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 8 orange shells


  1. Slice tops off oranges, and scoop out pulp.
  2. Combine beaten yolks and sugar until stiff.
  3. Fold 2 c. of whipped cream into yolk mixture, then fold in Grand Marnier.  Fill shells and freeze at least 2 hours.  before serving top with remaining whipped cream, and set each orange top on each orange at an angle.  Garnish with a spring of mint.


I had begun thinking about oranges and chocolate earlier in the week remembering a wonderful chocolate-orange cheesecake I used to make, and that I will probably take to a Christmas pot-luck dinner.  I think it would be fun to try filling the oranges with a chocolate-orange mousse, and garnishing perhaps with an After-Eight orange-chocolate stick, or chocolate curls.  The recipe for the chocolate-orange cheesecake will be in the next post.



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