RECIPE: Grilled Arak Oranges

image-grilled-oranges

Piquant with booze and naturally sweet, these grilled oranges are a quick, sophisticated dessert for a winter dinner.

It’s still officially winter in the Middle East, although spring is making a premature appearance with warm, windy days and scanty rain.  Orange trees shed their heady fragrance over sidewalks and gardens, while open-air markets display piles of  colorful citrus fruit right on the yearly schedule.

Tempting to buy a sackful of those juicy oranges.Locally grown and inexpensive, they’re a seasonal treat whether sliced up fresh or as a more elaborate confection. Try this orange dessert, perfumed with arak, the Middle-Eastern tipple. And if you like arak-flavored fruit, try these two recipes for fresh figs and arak later in the year.

Grilled Arak Oranges

6 servings

Lacking arak, substitute any flavorful spirit, like rum, gin,or cognac.

Ingredients:

6 large oranges

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 teaspoons cinnamon

3 tablespoons arak

3 tablespoons grated bittersweet chocolate

1.    Cut oranges into halves. Using a sharp knife and working over a bowl to catch juices, remove centers with seeds. Work the flesh out and chop it. Place it in the bowl with the juice. Reserve the shells.

2.    Combine the orange flesh, brown sugar, cinnamon and cognac. Stuff the shells with this. If the chopped flesh doesn’t come to the top of the shells, chop another orange up the same way and use the flesh to fill them.

3.    Sprinkle ½ tablespoon grated chocolate over each stuffed orange half. Broil 10 minutes or until the top is slightly charred.

Eat while still warm.

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