What’s in Season: Winter Citrus Gives Desserts a Sweet and Tart Edge

Bakeries and restaurants take advantage of L.A.’s bounty of oranges, tangerines, yuzu, and more

It’s winter in L.A., which isn’t stopping Angelenos from going to the beach or preventing the city’s pastry chefs from picking the choicest produce. In fact, the “cold” season is a fantastic time to think farm-to-table and seasonal, thanks to a bounty of winter citrus keeping things sweet and tart.

Die-hard Jin Patisserie fans mourned the shop closing its Abbot Kinney location a couple years ago, but lovers of talented pastry chef Kristy Choo can still stop by the Culver City Jin, which has winter treats like orange sponge cake with apricot compote and almond crumble ($6), and a vanilla sponge cake filled with mascarpone-yuzu crème brulee and kumquat compote ($6).

Any excuse, made-up or otherwise, to ogle Zoe Nathan’s pastry counter at Huckleberry is totally legit. While we’d stuff our faces with the Santa Monica cafe and bakery’s strawberry crostata at any given moment, their mini fruit tarts of the season are topped with tangerine for a bit of that addictive winter tartness coupled with pastry cream and Nathan’s signature buttery crust ($7).

Timing can be essential at The Sycamore Kitchen. Not only do they have quite a breakfast and lunch rush, but getting Karen Hatfield’s warm Meyer lemon curd almond cakes ($4) freshly filled from the oven can also take a bit of hawk-like vigilance. And for the gluten-persnickety, yes, these cakes are entirely gluten-free.

Republique serves a vanilla panna cotta with tangerine granite and grapefruit sorbet.

Photograph courtesy Republique

Republique might be best known for its elaborate French dinners, but during the day the former Charlie Chaplin office is an exquisite airy cafe. Margarita Manzke’s pastry counter is currently highlighting a lesser-known kind of citrus called Cara Cara orange on their brioche with custard ($3.50), and the restaurant’s dinner menu includes a vanilla panna cotta with tangerine granite and grapefruit sorbet ($11).

redarrowJin Patisserie, 5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite D, Culver City, 310-399-8801

redarrowHuckleberry, 1014 Wilshire Blvd. 310-451-2311

redarrowThe Sycamore Kitchen, 143 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, 323-939-0151

redarrowRepublique, 624 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, 310-362-6115