Oranges are at their best at this time of year and there are many varieties to choose from. For example, the bitter Seville or marmalade orange, the somewhat gruesomely named, but delicious blood orange or navel orange are just a few and they can all be used creatively in baking.
The zest has such a strong flavour that sometimes that is all that is needed to give the taste in, for example, biscuits and shortbreads. Among the flavours to go well with orange are chocolate, dates, almonds, apricots, carrots, and cranberries. These combinations can work in baked cheesecakes, muffins, tarts and cakes.
Caramelised oranges, put in overlapping slices on top of an orange-flavoured crème patissière, can look dramatic and taste fantastic. Orange syrup cakes or a St Clements cake using both oranges and lemons are always popular, as are orange cakes made using polenta. A thin-skinned orange, boiled until tender before being pulverised and mixed with ground almonds makes a delicious cake, which has either syrup poured over it or served with it. A sandwich cake flavoured with orange zest can be filled with orange curd.
In season: January-end of March
Fiona Burrell, co-author of Leiths Baking Bible, from the world-famous school of Leiths Food and Wine