Sweetened oranges with cardamom-spiked shards of caramel and booze-infused cream
A make-ahead dessert that allows oranges to macerate in a caramel that is lightly spiced with cardamom, before being served with shards of toffee caramel and (optionally booze-infused) cream.
200g caster sugar
4 cardamom pods, crushed
300ml double cream
1 tbsp orange liqueur, optional
Use a peeler to carefully remove the peel from one of the oranges, taking as little of the bitter white pith as possible. Slice that peel into lengths as thin as you can and set aside. Now proceed to fully peel all three oranges, leaving very little pith on the fruit. (Tip: slice around the equator of the orange, just deep enough to go through the peel, then use your fingers to prise the peel away.)
Slice the oranges into rounds approximately 1cm thick and set aside in a single layer in a dish. Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer the thinly sliced peel, to remove any bitterness. Refresh in cold water and drain.
Put the sugar into a saucepan with 150ml water. Cook on a high heat unit the sugar has dissolved, then add the cardamom and the thinly sliced peel. Continue to cook on high for approximately 5 mins, until the slices of zest are becoming transparent. Use a slotted spoon to lift out the cardamom pods, seeds and the zest. Set the zest aside (the cardamom can be thrown away now). Carry on bubbling the syrup until it reaches a light amber, then pour 6 tbsp of it over the orange slices.
Return the pan to the stove and continue to bubble on a high heat to make caramel toffee with the remaining sugar syrup. It is ready when a drop in a glass of cold water turns hard straight away—it will take 4 mins or so. While it is cooking, line a plate with baking paper. Pour the toffee over that as soon as it’s ready. Set aside for 2 hours to harden.
When ready to serve, whip the cream with the liqueur if using. Arrange the orange slices in a serving dish, or individual bowls. Use a rolling pin to break the caramel into shards. Spoon or pipe the whipped cream onto or next to the orange slices, scatter caramel shards over the top, and finish with the candied orange zest slices.
Recipe: Angela Clutton