A Waste Of Good Orangina
We love Orangina, it’s that simple. Now that we live in France there’s always some in the house, but I’ve been drinking it off and on for as long as I can remember. Way back when I had my first glass I felt incredibly sophisticated drinking it, a French soda that contains actual juice. That moment of self-satisfaction lasted until I discovered Mateus rosé, which was the hilarious height of sophistication at the time, then until the moment I discovered a new chic in drinking soy milk, then lapsang souchong tea, then gin and tonic. Fickle, I was, and all this before I was 23. After which I finally realized that sophistication was beyond my grasp, no matter what I drank, and I let Orangina slip out of sight for a time. But now I’m rehabilitated, and Orangina once more graces our fridge, ready to refresh the hottest and tiredest among us at the sip of a drop.
However, I’ve never thought of it as a baking ingredient. But tonight I felt like baking a new recipe, a carrot, orange and chocolate bread pudding, made with a lot of orange juice and rum-soaked raisins. I had everything in the house, it sounded delicious, why not give it a try? I melted butter, chopped chocolate, rescued the stale loaf of bread that had been destined for an ignominious end in the trash bin. But all too soon I realized that although I did indeed have two oranges, and they were in fact juicy, I would have needed at least eight of them to reach the required amount of orange juice. I thought about substituting milk, or even, heaven help me, white wine. And then, in a flash of inspiration, the cheerful label of the Orangina bottle appeared before my eyes. And quicker than you can say “juice and strain eight oranges” the deed was done, and my diced stale bread was soaking in an invigorating Orangina bath. I imagined a delightfully original pudding.
Let me just say this about that: if you’re having the Queen to dinner, or Paul Bocuse, do not make this. Or if you do, please don’t mention my name.
Somehow, without the usual milk to blend with the eggs and add structure to the pudding, what you end up with looks like a dog’s breakfast. I’m not saying it doesn’t taste pretty good. I’m not saying that I didn’t eat rather too much of it. I’m just saying.
I actually think the same problem would have obtained with orange juice, so I’m not blaming the Orangina at all. And the pudding does have a certain gooey appeal, an evening alone with a good book kind of thing. It’s a French recipe, and it contains actual juice. It’s flat-out unsophisticated and confidence-shakingly unattractive. I keep nibbling at it to see if it’s getting any better. Not so far.
I’ll post the recipe if you really want me to, but you’ll have to promise not to blame me if someone asks “what the heck is this?” Just say it’s French, and smile.