This refreshing orange compote is one of my favorite desserts as it is so refreshing. It has a Middle Eastern aura about it because of the honey: to accentuate this characteristic you might want to add toasted pistachios or almonds, and a little orange flower water. Chopped mint would add an element of North Africa. Grand Marnier or another orange liqueur adds yet another dimension.
Remove the bright orange zest of the oranges with a potato peeler (try not to get the bitter white pith) and cut into thin julienne strips. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the julienne, and blanch 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Set aside.
Cut off all the white pith from the oranges with a small knife. Then remove the segments by cutting between the membranes. Place the peeled orange segments in a bowl and set aside.
Combine the water, sugar, and honey in a saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking until the syrup thickens and measures about 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Let the syrup cool for a few minutes, stir in the blanched zest and pour over the orange segments. Add the Grand Marnier or orange flower water, the mint, or nuts, if you like. Serve at room temperature.
© 1992 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.