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Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie–whew. Is your stomach already growing a food baby at the thought of the Thanksgiving dessert table? Al Burtugal wal Zabib al Mutabal, a simple Egyptian dessert of spiced oranges and raisins, might just save you from that annual post-dinner coma.
Traditionally served as an ice cream or cake topping, this dish beautifully balances heady fall spices with bright, citrusy oranges (bonus point: it makes your kitchen smell aaaahmazing in the process). As is customary for Eastern Mediterranean desserts–baklava or kunafa, anyone?–the final product is intensely sweet, meaning just a few bites will easily satisfy that after-dinner sugar craving. Enjoy with a hot cup of black tea (Egypt’s national drink) or with a mug of strong coffee for a more Thanksgiving-esque take.
Adapted from this recipe
Makes 4-6 servings
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c water
2/3 c golden raisins
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp crystallized ginger, minced
3 large oranges
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then add raisins, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, allspice and ginger. Simmer over medium heat about ten minutes, or until syrup has thickened. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate ten minutes.
Discard peel from the oranges and cut the fruit into 1/2 inch rounds. Halve or quarter the rounds (leave some intact for a prettier dessert), then place in a medium-sized bowl.
Pour cooled raisins and syrup over oranges, stirring gently to cover as much of the fruit as possible.
Chill two hours, or overnight, and serve. This would make an excellent topping for spongecake–perhaps as an exotic twist on strawberry shortcake–or enjoyed on its own with a dollop of creme fraiche.
To up the nutrients in Al Burtugal wal Zabib al Mutabal, try the following substitutions:
• Raw or creamed honey (strict vegans, use maple syrup or agave) for granulated sugar