Moroccan Orange Dessert

Yum, Hank put together this gorgeous dessert with some blood oranges we swiped from my parents’ tree. ~Elise

This was the first dessert I ever made to impress a girl, years ago when I was attending graduate school in Wisconsin. We were both athletes, and eating for us had mostly been about fuel, not fun. But it was Valentine’s Day and I was making her dinner, so I wanted something exotic and, well, sexy, to end the meal. When I read about this Moroccan classic in one of my cookbooks, I knew I had my dessert.

I’ve made these oranges periodically ever since that night, and this dish is as lovely as it is simple: Fresh oranges (of whatever variety), doused in orange flower water, dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. That’s it.

The only change I’ve made to the recipe over the years is to macerate the orange slices in the orange flower water for an hour or so to deepen the flavor. Sometimes I’ll use different-colored varieties of oranges—blood oranges, cara cara oranges and navels are a pretty trio—just to fancy things up.

Moroccan Orange Dessert Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2, and can be doubled.

While we used blood oranges here, any sweet orange will work. Orange flower water can be found at Whole Foods or at a Mediterranean market.

Ingredients

Method

1 Slice the top and bottom off each orange. Slice off the rind and all the pith and then cut the orange into 1/4 inch rounds. Sprinkle a little orange flower water in the bottom of a wide-bottomed glass or plastic container and lay the orange slices on top. If you need to do more than one layer of oranges to get them all in the container, sprinkle more orange flower water over each orange layer as you go. Add any remaining orange flower water, cover the container and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

2 To serve, take the oranges out of the container and arrange on a plate. Add a little of the liquid from the container. Just as you serve, sprinkle some powdered sugar and cinnamon over the oranges.

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Links:
Moroccan-style Orange and Radish Salad - from Eat Real
Moroccan Orange-Melon Summer Salad - from Delicious Days

11 Comments

  1. Sam

    As a moroccan I have never heard of this dessert but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a classic, it looks delicious. Moroccans prefer fruit as a dessert rather, so this is right up my alley.

  2. Garrett

    Love making this for company. Come summer blackberries in rose water is equally awesome. =D

  3. Vallen

    I love this dessert but use rose water instead of orange flower water – it is an ethereal delight.

  4. Pille @ Nami-Nami

    I’ve made something very similar – sans orange juice. But what really “annoys” me, Elise, was the fact that you got the blood oranges from your parents garden. I have been looking for them in vain in supermarkets here, but seems that they’re not being imported to Estonia this year. Love the flavour and colour (we usually get Sicilian red oranges in the stores here)..

  5. tygerkitty

    That photo – wow, so so so gorgeous! what a great guy :)

    Also jealous that you just have blood oranges growing there – we’re buried in snow here. I am excited to try this though – I’ve never tried orange flower water or anything even close to this dish but it sounds delicious! Thanks for always being inspiring Elise and Hank!

  6. Aurora

    I love this combination. I used to live in Fez and this was the standard dessert in fancy/traditional restaurants. Never had it with flower water or sugar, just oranges and cinnamon. I’m sure the extra flavors only make it more special… At home I’d mix in candied walnuts.

    Your presentation with the dark oranges is gorgeous.

  7. Susan

    I love the color of those blood oranges! I never thought to dress them up as you have here. Nice touch!

    There was a time when restaurants garnished the plate with a few halved slices of orange with the rind on and a sprig of parsley or laid them on a small leaf of lettus. It was attractive and such a refreshing last bite to the meal. Later, when I started cooking, I used that idea but prepared them similar to yours, with no rind, and served it as a side fruit offered with our meals (when oranges were in season, used other fruit when those were season). It sort of cut the notion that you needed a bite of something sweet afterward, like dessert. I love to bake, but I don’t want to eat dessert after every meal. This does make a perfectly satisfying and healthy alternative.

  8. Yolande

    Gorgeous photo and oh my the blood oranges, also jealous of your parents tree. Being French he had to add a little something, so Papa used to add a Tablespoon of Cognac/Brandy to the orange water and also macerate for a couple of hours. MMMMM, perfect way to think spring while under way too much snow.

  9. Classy Catering Creations

    What a simple and great recipe. I love it. Some times less is more and as you have shown yet again with this amazing dish that statement hold true.
    This is a recipe I am sure to use at some of the events I cater for. Thanks so much for sharing with the world.

  10. Joanne

    I LOVE blood oranges! Not only are they stunningly beautiful, but their flavor is better!

  11. Itza

    I love oranges and the photo was enticing so I decided to give it a try; plus I had some orange blossom water. Unfortunately, this was not my favorite. Oranges tasted like soap.

    Wha? You don’t like soap? ;-) Sorry you didn’t like it. ~Hank

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