Warm weather puts me in the mood for fruit desserts long before the stone fruits, dear to my greedy heart, are in season. But sweet valencia oranges are always available, and they make some pleasant summery and effortless combinations. This one, from Casa Moro, the second Moro Cookbook, is really not a recipe-just a good combination, and a particulary nice finish to a Middle Eastern sort of meal. It is exotic; it is refreshing; it takes no time to assemble. All good.
I appreciate that many fruits come naturally as their own little handy packages. You can put an apple or orange in your pocket. It is an excellent thing to eat fruit right off the tree or bush, warm from the sun. Somehow , though, under other circumstances, I feel fruit is more of a treat when served cut up- or on a plate, with a little knife to cut and/or peel it with. It shows that it is special, and calls attention to it. (I'll just note, for what it's worth, that eggs come in handy packages too, but we don't eat them unpeeled and whole, out of hand. I'm just saying...)
Although the book did not say so, I think this little arrangement benefits from a few hours of chilling and flavor blending, prior to serving. My tub of mint on the porch is now sufficiently bushy to allow for picking some, which is satisfying. I used pre-pitted ordinary vacuum-packed grocery store dates, and imagine this would be even tastier with fat, juicy medjools. But it's pretty good with the ordinary stuff. The rosewater is the point, so I wouldn't leave it out.
Here's all you need:
dates 8 to 12, pitted
rosewater 2-3 tbsps
fresh mint handful chopped, or small leaves
cinnamon 1/2 tsp
optional dried rose petals- I just didn't happen to have any of these guys around
Peel the oranges removing all of the bitter white bits. Slice thinly and arrange on a plate. Cut the dates in quarters lengthwise, and arrange over the oranges. Dust with the sugar and sprinkle on the cinnamon. Drizzle the rosewater over all and scatter the mint (and optional rose petals.) Chill for at least 1/2 hour and devour. Some juice may run down your chin, but there are napkins for that.