Take this recipe as a loose guide, not a stringent regimen. If you don’t have cardamom, don’t rush off to the store leave it out completely or replace it with what you do have on hand. The vanilla bean offers a delightful fragrance and fun little specks that dot the plate, but it, too, can be left off. The syrup can be made up to three weeks in advance, and leftovers make a lovely wash to finish a fresh fruit tart or the base of a spiced soda just add sparkling water. For the oranges, use multiple varieties for a lovely display of color. You can also work in some grapefruit here, if you like the fragrant and bitter flavor it adds.
- Yield: 6 Servings, as a breakfast side
- ⅓ cup (60 g) granulated sugar
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 cardamom pods, lightly smashed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half
- 4 to 6 oranges
- In a small saucepan, combine ¾ cup (180 ml) of water with the sugar, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, star anise, and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer over a gentle heat and let it reduce slightly for about 5 minutes.
- Run a paring knife down the curve of the oranges to remove the peel and all the white pith. Cut the fruit in rough ¼-inch (6 mm) thick rounds. Arrange neatly on a platter.
- Drizzle the spiced syrup over the oranges.