Sliced Citrus with Orange Flower Water, Spices and Chocolate Shavings

Sliced citrus – oranges, tangelos, grapefruit, blood oranges – steeped in the essential Moroccan and Mediterranean liquid called "orange blossom" or "orange flower" water. Then, gilding the lily, we sprinkle the citrus with warm spices, a touch of sweetness and oh my, chocolate shavings or toasted pistachios.
Citrus Slices with Orange Flower Water, Spices & Chocolate Shavings ♥, a simple summer dessert, just orange slices steeped in a little orange flower water and showered with chocolate shavings.

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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.

Citrus Slices with Orange Flower Water, Spices & Chocolate Shavings ♥, a simple summer dessert, just orange, grapefruit, tangerine or blood orange slices steeped in a little orange flower water and showered with chocolate shavings.

Orange slices are sweet and delicious.

But so are grapefruit, tangerines and blood oranges!

What Is Orange Flower Water?

First, it's also called Orange Blossom Water, isn't that so pretty?!

Now close your eyes – yes, again! – 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.

It's purchased in tiny bottles, you know, the size of those little airline liquor bottles. It tastes very flowery, a little goes a long way.

RESOURCES Ha! I mention tiny bottles and then find a much larger bottle of orange blossom water on Amazon! My Disclosure Promise


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
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 or simple syrup
  • 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?

ALANNA’s TIPS Tangerines and blood oranges hold together best during slicing. Oranges and grapefruit slice a touch easier when they’re chilled. If you can tell, choose seedless fruit. If you can’t tell, you might try purchasing different kinds of oranges, say, to find one that doesn’t have seeds. For sheer beauty, there’s no beating the dramatic appearance of blood oranges. But for color contrast, the chocolate shavings show up best against orange slices. Love this idea but want to avoid sugar entirely? Try Savory Orange Slices!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 107 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium; 25g Carb; 5g Fiber; 20g Sugar; 2g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 3 (but since fruit is “free” with PointsPlus, you might count it as zero, especially since there is so little sugar, so little chocolate) & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 1
Adapted from and much inspired by Moroccan Orange Dessert from Simply Recipes.

More No-Sugar or Low-Sugar Fruit Dessert Recipes

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Orange flower water? What a fun idea! This is something I've read about before but never actually tried out! Thanks.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna