Spicy Spiked Holiday Dessert Oranges are a fabulous way to use the leftover oranges and syrup from Spiced Candied Orange Peel.
In my house, wasting food is never an option. The Spiced Candied Orange Peel, left me with oranges on the counter and almost a cup of the aromatic syrup left in the pot.
Sure, I could have eaten oranges sections “plain” over the next few days. And I suppose that I could have drizzled the syrup over my morning yogurt. But those hardly seemed like the highest and best uses for the leftovers. So, I hunted up a pomegranate left from my pomegranate juicing escapade and my trusty bottle of Grand Marnier.
Barely five minutes later, I had these Spicy Spiked Holiday Dessert Oranges. Like Spiced Candied Orange Peel, they are studded with the tiny seeds from the vanilla bean that cooks in the syrup. The other spices in the syrup (peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves) shine through too. The pomegranate seeds provide a pop of color, crunch, and a complementary taste.
In the introduction to her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, Jen Farley, talks about being brave and creative when cooking. So while her recipe for Spiced Candied Orange Peel doesn’t say what do to do with the orange sections and suggests saving the leftover syrup to add to drinks, I felt as though I was channeling her spirit when I put them together.
Longtime readers of this blog may recall my recipe for oranges and clementines in liqueur-scented simple syrup. That one takes less time to prepare. This version is more interesting if you like aromatic spices and complex flavors. Take your pick. Either way, you’ll have a light, gluten-free dessert.
By the way, this is a great make-ahead dish for a holiday buffet. Refrigerated for a day or two, the oranges only improve. And as my husband noted, for a dish with only 2 tablespoons of liqueur, it really packs a punch.
Spicy Spiked Holiday Dessert Oranges
Using the leftover syrup from Spiced Candied Orange Peel and a bit of orange liqueur, you can turn plain orange sections into an elegant and delicious holiday dessert.
- 4 oranges left over from Spiced Candied Orange Peel, quartered and each quarter cut (horizontally) into thirds, making bite-sized chunks
- Leftover syrup from Spiced Candied Orange Peel
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- 1/2 pomegranate, seeds only
Pour the leftover syrup from Spiced Candied Orange Peel over the orange chunks. If the syrup has cooled to the point where it no longer pours easily, warm it on the stove or in the microwave to make it pourable. Add the orange liqueur and mix the oranges, syrup, and liqueur together. Refrigerate in a tightly closed container until ready to serve.
Pour the oranges and their juices (including the syrup and liqueur) into a serving bowl.
Separate the pomegranate seeds from the membrane by submerging the half a pomegranate in a bowl of cool water. Gently work the seeds out with your hands. They will fall to the bottom of the bowl and you can then scoop them out. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top of and around the orange chunks.
As the orange chunks marinate, some of their juices will mix with the leftover syrup and liqueur. That means you will likely have more liquid after a day or two than you had initially. Also, the orange juice thins out the syrup, which is rather thick when cooled.