Oranges in Spiced Wine Syrup
THIS IS A STUNNING AND IMPRESSIVE DESSERT redolent of winter holidays and festive occasions. Oranges bathed in wine syrup is a traditional Spanish treat made with a rich, dry, and fruity red wine such as a Rioja. I have enhanced the orange flavor by blending the wine with juice, vanilla, orange and lemon zest, cinnamon, star anise, and candied ginger to add warmth and complexity to the syrup, creating something reminiscent of hot mulled wine.
I used a Spanish Rioja, but the recipe will work well with any dry, fruity wine such as a Pinot Noir, Chianti, a robust cabernet franc, or a French Burgundy. If there is any leftover syrup, simply use it to poach more orange slices or pour over fresh orange slices. The syrup can also be spooned over ice cream, blended with Champagne or sparkling white wine for a kir (aperitif), drizzled on a cake or the Orange, Ricotta, and Chevre Tart (page 184), or even stirred into meat juices for a sweet and savory sauce.