Clementines Poached in Spiced Riesling Syrup

Preparation info

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Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Make this pretty and refreshing orange dessert with clementines, tangerines, or small navel oranges. It’s a good buffet dish served in a large glass bowl. Prepare the dish in advance to give it a chance to chill well.

Flavoring desserts this way with bay leaves and other herbs, rediscovered by pastry chefs, actually dates back centuries. Sliced ripe peaches or nectarines can also be prepared like this.


  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Riesling or other fruity white wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon long thin julienne strips clementine, tangerine, or orange zest, without pith
  • 1 piece (about 2 inches) cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cardamom seeds
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 clementines, tangerines, or small navel oranges


    1. Combine the wine, sugar, zest, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and bay leaf in a large wide nonaluminum saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
    2. Using a very sharp thin knife, cut the peel and pith from the clementines. Leave the fruit whole. Work over a bowl or plate and save any juices. Carefully lower the fruit into the simmering syrup and add any reserved juices. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, basting often with the syrup. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
    3. Refrigerate the oranges in their syrup until very cold, preferably overnight, before serving. Serve the oranges in shallow bowls with plenty of syrup, and a knife and fork.