When I offer to bring dessert to a Book Group meeting, Whitney almost always requests Oranges with Grand Marnier Zabaione. (And she’s a connoisseur of chocolate!) It’s a perfect dessert for any time of year, but especially welcome now because of the citrus fruit coming into season in Florida and California. I was inspired to make this because a friend served whole, unpeeled Cara Oranges for dessert at a lunch meeting last week. Peeling and eating the delicious fresh fruit reminded me of a scene in Cranford, a BBC mini-series starring Judy Dench. In it one of the characters leaves the dining table to eat an orange in the privacy of her bedroom because she felt using her fingers to peel, section, and enjoy the exotic fruit, was too intimate an act to perform in public.
This is a dish for all the senses! Enjoy the scent of the orange zest as you grate enough for the sauce and notice the spray of oil and juice as you peel the oranges… appreciate the amazing color! I may use clementines or very small oranges next time; it’ll be a little easier to eat. I’ve adapted Oranges from Private Collection 2 – Recipes from the Junior League of Palo Alto. The books are out of print, but pick one or both up if you see them at a used book store or on Amazon.com; the ladies were generous about sharing some great recipes! They suggest garnishing this pretty dessert with candied violets – a real celebration of spring!
Oranges with Grand Marnier – 40 minutes preparation; 6-8 hours (or overnight) to marinate. Serves 8-10
6 large navel oranges, 8 small oranges, or 12 – 14 firm clementines
1/2 cup grated oranges zest
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup agave syrup
1 cup water
Optional, and don’t add if you’re using Cara Oranges, because they’re already pink: 2 drops red food coloring. I don’t think I’ll use coloring in the future, there is really no need.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or Triple Sec liqueur
1. Grate the rid of (3 oranges) to make 1/2 cup zest, a little more (1 teaspoon) if you want to add some to your Zabaione Sauce.
2. Peel the oranges, removing the pit and membrane; cut in thin slices into a pretty glass bowl.
3. In a saucepan combine the water, sugar, agave syrup and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer uncovered without stirring for 10 minutes. Add the grated rind and continue stirring for another 20 – 30 minutes or until the syrup has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and liqueur. Cool and pour over the oranges. Chill for 8 hours (or overnight), turning the oranges occasionally.
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
In the top of a double boiler (away from heat), beat the egg and egg yolks until thick. Gradually add the sugar, consistently beating until fluffy, light in color, and the mixture mounds slightly. Place over simmering water, continuing to beat, slowly adding the liqueur, until the mixture expands and forms soft mounds (3-5 minutes). Set the top of the double boiler in a bowl of ice and continue beating until the mixture is cool. Gently fold in the whipped cream and 1 teaspoon of zest. Refrigerate until serving.
I hope you and your guests like it as much as Whitney does!