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Author Notes: Caramelized citrus is one of Britain’s best food creations: Segmented citrus is placed in a vessel and covered with caramel. After sitting overnight in the fridge, the citrus releases all its juices, which commingle with the caramel into a sort of syrupy compote. To cut some of the sweetness, I like to keep some of the citrus zest around. The final combination is delightful on yogurt and especially good on ice cream (I’d also recommend adding some syrup to your next gin cocktail).
For a more composed dessert—and a vehicle for soaking up all the ice cream meltage and syrup so you don’t miss a drop of either—perch the citrus and scoop of ice cream on a thick slab of toasted brioche. —Ali Slagle
oranges (preferably a mix—blood, cara cara, navel)
lemons (Meyer preferred)
cups white sugar
pint vanilla ice cream
- The day before you want to serve your sundae, make the caramelized citrus: Use a 5-hole zester to get citrus curls from 1 orange and 1 lemon. Set the curls aside. Cut the tops and bottoms of all the oranges and lemons off. Stand an orange up, then slice off all the peel and pith. Repeat with the other fruit. Cut the skinned citrus into 1/4-inch crosswise slices, so each look like little wheels. Place evenly in a 9 x 13-inch pan or similar-sized casserole dish, along with any juices on the cutting board. Top with the citrus curls and set next to your stove.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, 4 cups water, and the bay leaves. Swirl the pan so the sugar dissolves, then put the pot over medium-high heat. Do not stir or agitate the pan at this point: Instead, let it come to a boil. When the mixture has turned dark amber, about 15 minutes, immediately pour the caramel evenly over the citrus. Try to cover all the citrus—if you don’t at first try, stir the citrus around until well coated. Let cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight so the citrus juices start to run into the caramel.
- To make a sundae, slice the brioche into thick slices, then place a slice on each serving plate. Top each brioche with a big scoop of ice cream. Nestle a few slices of caramelized citrus on the brioche next to the scoop of ice cream, then pour syrup over the whole thing. Eat at once.