Mandarin parfait with candied ginger

Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 6
Mandarin parfait with candied ginger
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
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Walk through a Southern California farmers market this winter and it almost seems there are more locally grown tangerines -- properly called mandarins -- than there are navel oranges. Sold under their variety names, Satsumas, Clementines, Pixies and at least half a dozen others, they come in a kaleidoscope of shapes, sizes and colors. And the flavor is mouth-filling, explosively sweet and tart at the same time, with individual varieties ringing notes that range from flowery to almost winy.

This recipe works beautifully with Satsumas.

From the story: Mad for mandarins


Whisk together the sugar, tapioca, milk, egg and salt in a saucepan and set aside for 5 minutes.


Heat the tapioca mixture to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture.


Remove the tapioca from the heat and pour it into a bowl to chill (the mixture will be somewhat liquid; it will thicken as it cools). Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds on an ungreased jelly roll pan and, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent scorching, bake until they begin to become fragrant and turn golden, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately transfer them to a bowl to stop the cooking. Set them aside.


Peel the mandarins and carefully remove as much of the white pith and strings from the fruit as you can. Break the mandarins into 2-segment sections and cut each section in half crosswise. Collect the half-sections in a bowl and set aside.


Sprinkle the minced ginger over the chilled tapioca and stir roughly to mix it in thoroughly. After mixing, the tapioca should be somewhat creamy in texture, rather than set firm.


Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of tapioca into a small glass (a martini glass is perfect; a wineglass or flat Champagne coupe will work well too). Spoon 3 (2-segment) half-sections of mandarins on top, then scatter a tablespoon of sliced almonds over that. Repeat twice more so you have 3 succeeding layers of tapioca, mandarins and almonds, ending with almonds. Chill for up to an hour before serving.