Friday, February 12, 2010

Oranges in aromatic syrup


One of the most underestimated fruits are probably oranges. We take their robust juiciness and sweet, pleasantly acidic taste completely for granted. Lemons, oranges and tangerines are in shops all year long so it is easy to forget they are typically winter fruits. And right now it's citrus harvest time so they are at the peak of their taste.

Here in Portugal there is an abundance of citrus trees so it is quite easy to find good quality fruit, moreover without an excessive carbon print. Today I made a very simple dessert, featuring oranges. It is quite elegant and very easy to make.  Most importantly we need to get the best sweet and juicy type of orange. I really like navel oranges (did you know they come from the single mutation of one orange tree in some monastery garden in Brazil?). But for me the absolutely best ones are those picked directly from a tree in Portuguese Algarve region, famous for its orange groves and beautiful beaches. I know that this is completely silly, but I like to buy oranges at the market with leaves still attached. :)

I would like to invite you today to a nice and simple orange dessert in Northern African style, with the addition of some dried dates (apricots will do pretty nice here, too), and aromatic spice syrup.

Oranges and dates in aromatic syrup

Oranges with dates in vanilla and clove syrup

yields 4

4 oranges
250 ml water
150 g sugar
8 dates
4 cloves
1 vanilla bean

With a sharp knife remove bottom and top of each orange. Cut off the peel (with albedo) from the sides and slice the fruits horizontally. Reserve the peel from 1 orange. Remove as much of albedo as you can from the reserved peel and cut the orange rind into thin strips.

Boil water with sugar. Leave on medium heat until it thickens and begins to resemble syrup. Add orange rind, cloves, dates and splited vanilla bean. Simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes. Distribute orange slices over 4 bowls. Pour the hot syrup over them. Place two dates, one clove and a piece of vanilla bean on the top of each portion . Serve cooled. 


Drake said...

Beautiful photo. I love the colour contrast.

Agnieszka said...

Drake, thanks a lot for your nice comment.