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.
Servings
6servings
Servings
6servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing the top and bottom ends, white pith, and outer membrane. If poaching and serving the oranges whole, the top and bottom of each should be flat, allowing the orange to sit firmly on either end. I find that halving the oranges, cutting across the core, or cutting into 4 thick slices makes for easier eating.
  2. Pour the wine and orange juice into a deep saucepan wide enough co hold the 6 oranges comfortably. Whisk in the sugar and cinnamon, add the orange and lemon zest, star anise, vanilla bean, and ginger. Bring up to a boil over medium heat then reduce the heat slightly and boil for 5 minutes-it should be a rolling boil but never foam.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, lower the whole, halved, or sliced oranges into the boiling liquid. Keeping at a low rolling boil, continue cooking for 15 minutes, turning the whole oranges every 3-4 minutes to ensure even poaching; the cut oranges need no turning if submerged in the liquid and should cook for closer to 10 minutes. Remove the oranges to a serving plate or bowl and continue cooking the wine for just 10 minutes more until it is reduced and syrupy. Remove pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature; it will continue to thicken as it cools.
  4. To serve, place the oranges in a deep serving platter. Remove the zests, vanilla bean, and star anise from the syrup before pouring over the oranges. Serve each orange in a wide soup or dessert bowl, spooning syrup over the fruit. Serve with a sharp knife, a fork, and a spoon for the syrup. Top with freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.