- Course: Dessert
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 42 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
I had been delighted by this dessert of spiced oranges in zesty sauce many times at dinner parties in Paris and I finally I got up the nerve to ask for the recipe. The cook assumed I would understand how to make it with a simple description. When my attempts failed, I planned a cooking session to watch her, step by step. Now this is one of the highlights of my winter dessert collection. With its gentle sweetness and acidity, it is ideal to serve when you have prepared something rich, such as tartiflette, roast duck, or beef stew. Plan on about 1½ oranges per person. This dessert improves with age so it is a good idea to make it a day ahead of time or the morning of your dinner.
Use a 6-holed zesting device to remove the zest from the oranges into long, thin strips. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the orange zest and blanch for about 3 minutes. Transfer the strands with a slotted spoon to a small strainer. Rinse with cold water and separate and drain on a towel.
In the same saucepan, combine the sugar with 1 cup of water, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Scrape out the interior of the vanilla bean into the saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce reduces by about a third. It will have thickened slightly. Add the orange zest to the sauce, remove from the heat, and set aside.
Cut off the tips of the oranges so they stand upright steadily. Using careful, sculpting slices, remove the pith and remaining peel of the oranges with a very sharp knife. Cut the oranges into round slices about ¼ inch thick. Remove any stray pits.
Place the orange slices in a serving bowl, layering them with the sauce so that the zest is distributed evenly throughout. Top with the red currants and refrigerate. Serve chilled. Keeps in refrigerator for 3 days, well covered.
Nutritional information is based on 10 servings.