Sunday, December 30, 2012

Marsala-Soaked Oranges

Marsala-Soaked Oranges:
Good to the very last drop!
It’s good to get back to basics after heavy holiday meals! This dessert of sliced oranges infused with Marsala is a wonderfully light treat. The dish requires several hours’ chilling and setting, but very little work. 

Marsala-Soaked Oranges:

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. water
½ c. sweet Marsala wine
6 large navel oranges
Maraschino cherries with stems, drained, as garnish

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmering 10 min. Pour syrup into heat-proof container; cool 10 min. Stir in Marsala.

Remove and discard peel and pith from remaining oranges. Slice oranges into cartwheels ¼-in. thick. Cut each cartwheel into quarters, for easier eating. Lay in shallow pan, covering with cooled Marsala syrup. Cover and refrigerate 1-to-3 days. Serve chilled in small dessert nappies. garnished with a maraschino cherry. Serves 6-to-8.

Note: I dont like to waste food or money. Working with so many oranges makes this a great opportunity to harvest and dry a good supply of orange zest or peel for future use in orange muffins and cakes. Preparing fine zest requires a mandolin grater, but there are two ways to collect thin, long peel for freezer storage in an airtight container. Using a vegetable scraper, you can peel the outer skin of an orange, being careful not to include the bitter pith. Cut this thin peel into julienne strips or chop it very finely as zest. 

If you have a time-saving julienne peeler, you can simplify this step. To julienne an orange, grasp and brace the peeler firmly against your work space, drawing the blade straight toward you. Do the top curve of the orange first; turn it over to repeat with the bottom curve. Getting the hang of it takes a moment or two, but the process will soon move along fast. 

The quickest way to peel an orange is to cut the stem and opposite end before cutting the orange in half. Placing each flat half on your workspace, insert a knife (I use a grapefruit knife) between skin and fruit, circling the orange so that the fruit falls from the skin. Its then easy to remove the pith.

Zesting an orange ... But there are other ways to skin it!

Peel it as julienne strips: Practice makes perfect! 

To peel an orange quickly, slice off each end and ...
Cut orange in half, running knife between skin and fruit

Or use a sideways motion: A grapefruit knife works best

The grapefruit knife's serrated curve does the job fast

Combine equal parts of sugar and water

Bring to a boil before cooling ...
Stir in a splash of Marsala

And add sliced oranges, covering with Marsala syrup  

Refreshing and light - a reprieve from holiday calories!

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