Moroccan Orange Dessert

DessertValentine's DayMoroccanOrange

A traditional Moroccan dessert made with oranges, orange flower water and cinnamon.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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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: 10 minutes
  • Marinating time: 1 hour
  • 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.



1 Marinate orange slices in orange flower water: 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 Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon to serve: 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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Moroccan Orange-Melon Summer Salad - from Delicious Days

Moroccan Orange Dessert

Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

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7 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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