Wednesday, March 16, 2016

St. Paddy's Day: Burnt Oranges

In honor of St. Patrick's Day -- and partly because we've already given a number of the 'traditional' dishes (traditional for the U.S., especially) -- we've been searching for some of the more unusual Irish treats to share with you. 

This one has to top the list. 

It's Burnt Oranges -- a dessert that started as Bishop, a steaming punch flavored with lemon. Somewhere along the way, the flavoring changed to oranges, especially Seville oranges from Spain. And  it became one of the favorite dishes of Dean Swift. Jonathan Swift. Yes, the author of Gulliver's Travels and that lovely little essay, A Modest Proposal. (Click on the latter if you want to find out more -- but don't do it around suppertime.)

 Swift eventually became the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin...for a while, anyways. Eventually he was buried there.

This sweet almost-drink, almost fruit soup, is actually quite delicious, and a good way to use up oranges heading past their prime.


  • 4 large oranges or 6-8 Seville oranges
  • 150 ml sweet white wine (or a medium white wine if using eating oranges)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • 6 tablespoons sugar  (3 tablespoons x 2)
  • 300 ml fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons warmed Irish whiskey
Peel oranges with a peeler or sharp knife -- but just the skin, not the white part, which can be bitter. (This is called "zesting," by the way.) Cut zest into strips and marinate in the wine for a few minutes.
Zesting, zesting...

Pull the oranges apart into segments -- but get rid of as much white as possible. Discard seeds, but do it over a bowl, so not to lose any juice.
Put the oranges into an oven/stovetop-proof dish. Sprinkle with the butter and half of the sugar. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 min., until the sugar caramelizes and oranges brown up.
While you're waiting, mix orange juice with the rest of the sugar; bring to a boil, then let simmer until thickened. Add the orange peel/wine mixture, bring to a boil again, then cook until thickened.
If the orange segments didn't brown, then broil them lightly. (Watch carefully - you don't want them to burn.) Warm the whiskey, pour over the oranges, and set the mixture on fire. (It won't flame if the whiskey isn't warm.)
Add the orange syrup and let the whole shebang simmer for about 2 minutes.
Serve right away -- or cold. "Pouring double cream over the cold version, in the Irish style, works very well."

Go here for the full scoop. 
    Recipe was adapted from

Jonathan Swift by Charles Jervas detail.jpg
Yum!   (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

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