Flaming Oranges

11:29 pm on 16 November 2009

Mercurio’s Menu by Paul Mercurio published by Murdock Books.


  • 200g (7 oz) raw (demerara) sugar
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) water
  • pinch of ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint, plus some whole leaves
  • 6 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 125ml (4 fl oz ½ cup) Grand Marnier
  • Vanilla icecream to serve


Make a sugar syrup by combining the sugar and water and heating over medium heat until the sugar has melted, then bring to a simmer and cook for several minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the syrup to cool. Once cool, add the spices and sliced mint and whisk to combine then add the orange pieces and mix again. Allow the oranges to marinate for a couple of hours.

Put the oranges and syrup into a heatproof serving bowl, making sure to stack the oranges so they climb up out of the syrup like a pyramid. Pour the Grand Marnier into a metal ladle or a small saucepan and hold over a flame, gently heating the liqueur. It will eventually light and begin to burn especially if you tilt the ladle or pan so that the liquid is close to the flame – when this happens turn all the lights out in the room and then pour over the oranges and watch as they ‘flame’. If you don’t have gas, warm the Grand Marnier in a small saucepan over low heat. Tilt the saucepan away from you and hold a long-handled lighter near the pan and click to start a flame – it will then flame in the same way.

When it stops burning turn the lights on and serve the oranges in individual bowls with some of the lovely syrup now infused with the Grand Marnier. Garnish with a mint leaf and a side serve of vanilla ice-cream.

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