Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Cointreau Soused Orange Slices

This may well be the easiest recipe I have ever posted. Inspired by beautiful blood oranges and some very pretty glass dishes, I had an idea for something so quick and delicious I could hardly believe it might work. But it did. In fact, it was amazing.

Blood oranges have a relatively short season. The months they are available varies depending on what country you are in and the weather conditions. Here in England we can usually get them imported from Italy in late January/February, but the season can start as early as November and carry on into March. Athocyanin, which is a pigment more commonly found in flowers than fruits and vegetables, gives blood oranges their distinctive red colour. They can be slightly more tart than ordinary oranges but are very delicious.

I served this as a simple dessert for two last night, but I think it would be wonderful at a dinner party, particularly where there is going to be a cheese course and you only want a light dessert. It would also be a lovely for the summer, although you would only be able to use ordinary oranges as blood oranges are not in season then. I don’t honestly think it would matter though.

I used both blood oranges and ordinary oranges in this recipe because I like the idea of the contrasting colours. Instead of peeling the oranges by hand I used a knife and carefully pared the skin off along with the pith. It can help to cut a small slice off the bottom of the orange first so that you can sit it flat on a chopping board to do this. Be sure to use a sharp knife and be careful of your fingers!

It’s nice to serve this in pretty glass dishes so the colour shows through.

You need:-

2 to 3 oranges per person, peeled and sliced in rounds
(try to remove all the seeds)
about 2 tablespoons of Cointreau or Grand Mariner per person

Peel and slice the oranges and place them all in a fairly deep bowl. Pour the liqueur over top, covering the oranges as much as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a cool place (not the fridge) to soak for about an hour or so, gently turning the oranges from time to time. The liqueur encourages the oranges to release some of their juices, so a lovely boozy juice will develop.

Divide the orange slices between the serving dishes and pour some of the juice over top. Serve with a little whipped cream or crème fraîche on the side for people to dollop on top. I have a feeling this would also be delicious served as a topping for good vanilla ice cream.

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