Up to 1 day before serving, prepare the oranges: Segment 6 of the oranges (or simply peel and slice them), reserving the juices. Pick out any seeds and collect all of the juices and the segments or slices in a bowl.
Cut the remaining 2 oranges in half and juice them. Add the juice to the bowl of oranges. Flavor the oranges delicately with drops of orange blossom water to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, taste the juice and adjust the orange blossom water if necessary. Divide the oranges and juices evenly among six serving bowls. Nestle a small scoop of ice cream and a small scoop of sorbet in the center of each bowl. Distribute the quartered dates around the ice cream and sprinkle each dessert with the chopped almonds. Grate a little bit of the cinnamon stick over each bowl, if desired, and serve immediately.
Note about blossom waters: Orange blossom water (and rose water, too) is meant to be a beguiling nuance of flavor and fragrance, not a wallop, so use it with a very light hand. Correct the flavoring drop by drop and you can’t go wrong.
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!).