Will you indulge me, please, and close your eyes, just for a minute? Now imagine a sunny afternoon in an orange grove, the light dappled, the breeze cool, the busy-ness of life a distance away. Reach up and grab a fat orange orb and break it off the stem. Feel its heft in the palm of your hand. Now scrape the skin with your nail and sniff as orange sweetness fills the air around you. Peel the orange with your hands, in one piece if you can! and cut slice it into juicy rounds.
I can't promise you an orange grove – but I can promise you an unforgettable dessert, sassy and sweet, even with just a tiny sprinkle of sugar. This is the quick and easy summer dessert recipe that's helping me give up processed sugar. Maybe it will you, too!
Anyone noticed? Early in 2011, I quietly began to reshape the new recipes appearing on Kitchen Parade. Desserts are rare here now and it’s on purpose. If desserts are something we should enjoy “once in awhile” then that’s about how often dessert recipes should show up here, too.
It’s been a few months now. To be honest, I still miss baking and I still miss having something sweet at the end of the day. But it feels right to remove refined sugar from our diets and trust me, no one’s starving. ☺
The saving grace is fruit, so long as I don’t fool myself (and no one) by burying fruit in cakes and pies and quick breads and then labeling it virtuous eating.
In all its many variations, this sliced citrus tastes like the real treat it is, slightly tart, slightly sweet. The first inspiration came from Simply Recipes. We found Elise’s recipe a tad spare, so started adding little bits of taste and texture contrast, just stuff we had on hand. The first night we added chocolate shavings, whoa, what a night! I especially like toasted pistachios on grapefruit.
HOW TO CUT AN ORANGE FOR SLICES Here's a quick photo tutorial, How to Cut an Orange for Slices.
LOVE THE IDEA BUT WANT TO AVOID SUGAR ENTIRELY? Try Savory Orange Slices!
WHAT IS ORANGE FLOWER WATER (also called ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER)? Close your eyes and imagine water perfumed with fresh orange blossoms, fruity and fresh, sweet and seductive. That’s the essence of the clear liquid called “orange blossom water”. It is traditional in Middle Eastern cooking and French and Mediterranean desserts.
SLICED CITRUS with
ORANGE FLOWER WATER, SPICES & CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS
Time to table: 70 minutes
Serves 1 to many
- 1 orange, blood orange, tangelo, tangerine, even half a grapefruit
- Orange flower water
- A touch of sweetness – a sprinkle of powdered sugar (preferred, it ‘melts’ into the citrus) or demerera sugar or a drizzle of agave
- A pinch of spice – cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, even cumin
- Texture and flavor contrast –chocolate shavings or toasted pistachios
(If you like, peel off bits of citrus zest for garnish.) Slice the skin off the fruit, then slice crosswise into rounds. (For pictures, see How to Cut an Orange for Slices.) Arrange the slices in a single layer, overlapping a little if helpful, on individual plates or a serving platter.
Splash a little orange water over each slice, about a teaspoon per slice. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or so until the citrus soaks up some of the orange water.
Lightly dust the slices with a touch of sweetness, then sprinkle with a tiny pinch of spice and scatter chocolate shavings or toasted nuts across the top. Serve and savor. Who needs refined sugar?
My fellow food bloggers are the most inspiring cooks I've ever known, what a pleasure it is to follow their culinary curiosity and kitchen creativity! Who are my favorite food bloggers and what are they cooking? Check out I Heart Food Blogs.
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