It's blood orange season! If you're looking for a way to use this vibrant, jewel-toned ingredient in something as cold and decadent as the winter itself, look no further than this boozy milkshake (which can be easily made sans alcohol for non-imbibers).
So here's why I love to mix with blood oranges (aside from their obviously gorgeous plummy hue): blood oranges are slightly more bitter -- but less acidic -- than a standard naval orange, which gives them the backbone to pair better with spirits, or to cut through rich ingredients like the mascarpone and ice cream used here. They also tend to have jammy berry notes, which gives them a wonderfully rounded and robust flavor.
The real secret sauce here is the mascarpone, which is a creamy Italian cheese that forms the backbone of tiramisu. I love it spooned over poached fruits, stuffed into french toast... it’s somewhere between creme fraiche and cream cheese, and it gives this milkshake a very subtle cheesecake vibe that you’re not gonna be mad about. Mascarpone + vanilla + orange + almond is one of my favorite flavor combos, full stop. But if you can’t get your hands on mascarpone (sometimes it’s in the dairy aisle, sometimes it’s hiding in the fancy cheese section), a full fat ricotta, creme fraiche, or plain old cream cheese make decent substitutes.
Now, milkshake texture is a very personal preference; some like a milkshake so thick you need a spoon, others as smooth as an egg cream. I like my milkshakes to be rich but drinkable — not so thick you can’t suck them through a straw — served with an additional scoop of ice cream floated on top, to make the experience more dessert-like (and last longer). If you want an even thicker shake, just blend that topper scoop into the rest of the shake to begin with, along with the almonds (instead of sprinkling them on top). Blend just until everything is combined — over blending will cause melting, which means a thinner shake.
I like to chop my blood oranges and spoon them into the bottom of the glass, along with their juices, to give the drink texture and an ombré effect. If you tried my citrus cordial and still have some handy, you can drizzle some of that over the oranges as well. If you don’t like floaty bits in your milkshake, blend the oranges with the rest of the ingredients instead.