5 Ingredients or Fewer

Chilled Oranges in Rum-Caramel Syrup

January 24, 2014
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This easy, stylish recipe is an old favorite, adapted from a recipe in a French fashion magazine circa 1972. You can serve it as you would fruit compote for brunch, or as a refreshing, light dessert after a spicy meal. Or spoon a moat of it around a scoop of vanilla or honey ice cream or a trembling spoon of panna cotta. Recipe from Pure Dessert (Artisan, 2007) —Alice Medrich

What You'll Need
  • 8 good eating oranges, preferably organic or unsprayed
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cups dark rum
  • 1 cup sugar
  • A 12-inch stainless steel skillet
  1. Zest 2 of the oranges, using a zester or Microplane to make fine shreds. Or use a vegetable peeler to peel wide strips of zest from the oranges and then cut the zest into very fine slivers with a chef's knife. Set aside.
  2. Use a sharp knife to remove the skin and all of the white membrane from all of the oranges. Cut the oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, or "supreme" them by cutting the sections from the membranes. Remove any seeds. Arrange in a shallow serving dish, drizzle the rum over the oranges, and sprinkle with zests. Set aside.
  3. To make the caramel, set a white saucer by the side of the stove to use to judge the color of the caramel. Spread the sugar in the dry skillet. Set the pan over medium-high heat and heat, without stirring, until the sugar begins to melt into clear syrup around the edges.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and continue melting the sugar without stirring -- shake the pan to redistribute it -- for as long as the syrup remains clear. When the syrup begins to color, stir it with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, mixing and spreading the syrup and sugar together, until all the sugar is melted and beginning to color evenly. If some of the syrup starts to color too quickly before the rest, turn the heat down, or take the pan off the heat for a few moments, and continue to stir.
  5. Drop a bead of syrup onto the white plate to judge the color. When the syrup looks pale amber on the saucer, turn the heat down even lower, or remove the pan, and stir until a drop of syrup is reddish amber, or the color of medium-dark honey.
  6. Immediately pour the hot caramel over the orange slices. The oranges may be prepared to this point and kept, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days. If you serve the oranges after a brief chilling, some of the caramel will have hardened into a thin brittle layer on top of the oranges, providing a pleasing crunch. Lengthier chilling will melt the caramel completely, bathing the oranges in sweet rummy caramel syrup without a crunchy layer. The choice is yours.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AnneD
  • aeisenhowerturnbull
  • Alice Medrich
    Alice Medrich
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

9 Reviews

lighthouse6 October 28, 2017
Made these for a big party last night and everyone loved them. I think they liked the way they looked even more than the way they tasted! Delicious and so easy to make, plus very pretty.
AnneD December 18, 2014
Forgot to mention--if you're running short of fridge space during the last hours before a dinner party (which I always am), this dessert also works well at room temperature. It's a great Do Ahead dish, even if you only do the orange zesting, peeling & slicing in advance.
AnneD December 18, 2014
Incredibly beautiful and delicious. Perfect for the winter holidays: gorgeous color; a juicy fresh fruit when other favorites (strawberries, raspberries, etc.) aren't ripe locally and clients are starting to tire of French apple tarts and pear tarts even tho' I do lots of different ones; lighter and brighter at a time when heavy food is often being served--and pretty fast and easy when I'm swamped with seasonal cooking, seasonal shopping, seasonal home decorating, and more. Everyone is happy to see this as the finale of a meal!
JaneMiami March 7, 2014
Served this at a dinner party! Everybody loved this so much. They were literally slurping the nectar/juice that formed out of the dish at the end! So simple & wonderful...especially since we made it with Honeybell oranges. Thanks so much!
Alice M. March 7, 2014
Yay. Thanks for this feedback. It's nice to have another convert to this amazing and easy recipe.
aeisenhowerturnbull January 27, 2014
When should we add the rum? It doesn't say in the directions.
Kristen M. January 27, 2014
See the end of step 2! It's drizzled on the oranges and mixes with the caramel after you pour it on.
Mrs S. January 27, 2014
"for as long as the syrup around the edges"- ??
Also, if I want to break out my candy thermometer for this, how many degrees am I shooting for?
Kristen M. January 27, 2014
Apologies for the error -- it's been corrected and should read "for as long as the syrup remains clear." Also, here's a note from Alice! "The mixture is too shallow in the skillet for a thermometer. Making the caramel by eye is a really good skill to have and you really can't go wrong because the temperature and color don't have to be precise. The darker the caramel, the more burnt sugar flavor you will get, or if you take it off when the color is lighter, the syrup will be sweeter. Try it! If you are more comfortable using the wet method for caramel, you can do that instead as follows: use medium small saucepan and pour 1/2 cup of water in first, then the sugar in the center and pat it down just to moisten it all, cover and cook a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Uncover and cook, swirling, but not stirring, until the color looks right when you drip a little on the white plate."