Recipe: Blood Orange Jelly Smiles

You've seen them on the dessert cart every time you went out for dim sum. But the lure of the custard tarts and the sesame balls has always been too strong, so you've never actually tried the jelled fruit slices. So here's a quick and easy way to make them at home, using the tart and tangy blood oranges currently in season in California, to boot.

These are a wonderful finish to any meal, like a stir-fry of gingered shrimp and snow peas. Not eating animal products? The same effect can be had using agar agar dessert sticks or powder, found at most Japanese grocers.

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Blood Orange Jelly Smiles

Start by halving 3-4 blood oranges horizontally and squeezing out 3/4 cups of juice. With the edge of a spoon, scrape out the insides of the halves as closely as you can, down to the whites, and set them upright on a tray.

In a bowl, bloom one package of gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water for one minute. Heat the juice until nearly boiling in either a pan or the microwave, and add a few tablespoons of sugar or honey to taste. Mix the juice into the gelatin, and fill as many cleaned orange halves as you can (likely 4-5). It's okay if you don't reach the top exactly - you can trim the edges later.

Chill for 3 hours, and then slice into smiles. When done properly, you should experience Proustian flashbacks to snack time at elementary school.

This is by Sarah, who is up for one of our new writer positions. Welcome Sarah!