A Food & Travel Blog

Italian Poached Oranges

21/10/2016 | By

My take on an outstanding dish we enjoyed during our trip recent to Italy – Italian Poached Oranges are one of the simplest desserts you can make.

Italian poached oranges

Well – normal service (and life) is about to resume here at Lambs’ Ears and Honey. The vacation is over and I no longer have wait-staff attendant upon my every request. 

It was a wonderful few weeks of food, wine, new experiences and reminders of why I love Italy so very much. We had some amazing meals (many of which featured on my Instagram account, if you’re curious) and the best of them were simple, fresh, seasonal food prepared with care and respect for the ingredients.

A glance through my recipe index will show you, dear reader, that this is my preferred way of cooking – taking good, fresh ingredients and making their flavours sing using simple techniques. This is not just because I am lazy, although that is also true, but because I firmly believe that you don’t need to be a “masterchef” to produce great, delicious food. Anyone can produce a brilliant meal by using fresh, seasonal products, preferably locally sourced, and simple techniques.

I Choose SA poached oranges

This Saturday is “I Choose SA Day“, when all South Australians are encouraged to actively support local producers of any kind. South Australian producers and their products have always been a passion of mine, so this is a cause I’m proud to continue supporting. South Australia is known for the quality of all our fresh food, especially citrus fruit, so Italian Poached Oranges would be a great, and ridiculously simple, way to enjoy some Riverland oranges.

Italian poached Oranges

Deliciously silky fat, ribboned with a blush of pink ham.

The recipe I’ve come up with for Italian Poached Oranges is based on what was totally the most memorable dessert we had during the course of our holiday. It came at the end of our last meal in Turin. This was a meal that began surprisingly when we were presented with a plate of delicious and divinely silky, wafer-thin ham fat, but it was the poached oranges at dessert that blew us away with their depth of flavour and utter simplicity. 

Poached Oranges peeled

You can tart this up in a wealth of ways – try with cardamom, star anise, cinnamon or orange flower water – but I loved the pure orange flavour. The touch of bitterness from the zest is the highlight here, but do try to get the zest off the fruit with as little white pith as possible (note to self – buy a sharp, new peeler).

Italian Poached Oranges

This is divine just as is, but if you can't resist then do flavour the syrup any way preferred. You could serve the oranges with yoghurt or cream, but they are stunning on their own, too.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Citrus
Servings: 6 serves
Author: Amanda McInerney of www.lambsearsandhoney.com


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 oranges
  • a little extra water


  • Carefully peel all the oranges, removing the zest with as little of the white pith as possible.
  • Peel the pith from the fruit and cut them in half.
  • Cut the zest into strips, place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring it slowly to the boil, boil for 5 minutes, then quickly strain the zest and place in cold water. Set aside.
  • Combine the sugar and water over medium heat, bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes, until the syrup has thickened slightly.
  • Add the fruit to the syrup, making sure you are using a pan small enough for them to be covered. You may need to do this in two batches. Simmer in the syrup for 3-4 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a serving dish.
  • Add the drained zest to the syrup, simmer for 5 minutes or until translucent. Remove with a slotted spoon and scatter over the oranges.
  • Cool the syrup, then pour over the fruit.
  • Serve at room temperature.



Subscribe to Lambs' Ears and Honey

Enter your Email
  1. Liz Posmyk (Good Things)

    Amanda, this is exactly the kind of food I love to prepare and eat. Beautiful produce, served simply. A lovely recipe. Many thanks.

  2. Tandy | Lavender and Lime

    This is my type of recipe for sure. And so versatile to do with any citrus fruit in season 🙂