Oranges in Caramel

Oranges in Caramel is one of those desserts often found on restaurant ‘sweet trolleys’, where it invariably disappoints. Done well, however, it is delicious. This recipe is from one of my all-time favourite cookery books, The Prawn Cocktail Years, by Simon Hopkinson and Lindsay Bareham. If you don’t have a copy, you really should treat yourself to one.

  • 8 sweet, medium-sized oranges
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 150ml cold water
  • 150ml very hot water
  • Grand Marnier (optional)

The original recipe calls for eight oranges, but as you can see from the picture, I only used six – that’s simply how many fitted into my dish. Feel free to use a bigger dish!

Using a sharp knife, peel four of the oranges getting as little pith as you possibly can. Slice the peel into thin strips. Blanch the strips in a pan of boiling water for a few seconds, then drain into a colander and refresh in cold water.

Now peel the oranges. Again, use a sharp knife and this time be sure you remove all of the pith. Slice each orange horizontally into discs, and then reassemble each orange using a couple of cocktail sticks in each to hold it all together. Whilst doing this, make sure you do this over a plate to catch the juice. Place all the oranges and any collected juice into your serving dish.

Now the optional step, but definitely one to be encouraged. Pour a tablespoon of Grand Marnier over each of the oranges.

Next, the caramel sauce. take a medium sized saucepan and heat the sugar and cold water gently until all of the sugar has dissolved. Increase the temperature and bring to the boil. Boil vigorously, stirring all of the time, until the sauce takes on a rich amber colour. Remove from the heat and stir it for a few more seconds. Now, take the very hot water and carefully pour it into the caramel. It will spit violently while you do this – use a cloth or tea towel to protect yourself! Once the hissing and spitting subsides, stir the caramel until it’s all mixed together smoothly – if you get lumps of caramel in there, return to the heat until you have a smooth liquid again. Finally, add the strips of orange peel and simmer for a couple of minutes more.

Pour the caramel sauce over the oranges and then place in the fridge to cool.

These are delicious on their own, but a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream on the side makes a very nice addition.

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