Soused oranges with Aperol

A simple, refreshing dessert inspired by a Spritz.

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In summer, the tables of Italian cafes glow with glasses of the classic cocktail, Spritz: Aperol, prosecco and soda. This is my dessert version, with orange slices steeped overnight in a sweet, lemony syrup, with a kick of colour and flavour from Aperol. It's wonderfully refreshing in summer, and in winter, when oranges hit the peak of their season, it injects some sunshine into dreary winter days.

With its radiant, sunshiny orangeness, Aperol is my aperitivo of choice here, but you could substitute any other orange-flavoured liqueur, like Cointreau, or change direction with something like limoncello. Then again, you could leave out the alcohol altogether and it would still be glorious.


Soused oranges with Aperol

 

For 2.

3 oranges
1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Aperol

Peel and slice two of the oranges – I usually manage six thick slices each – and place them in a bowl.

Grate the zest off the lemon into a small bowl and then add its juice. Juice the third orange and add to the lemon, along with the sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Add the Aperol and taste: there should be a good balance of acidic sharpness and sweetness, which will depend a lot on how sweet your oranges are, so adjust accordingly.

Pour this mixture over the sliced oranges, gently tossing to cover. Cover with cling film and refrigerate. The longer it macerates, the better it will be. Overnight is good, a full 24 hours will be magnificent.