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orange flower citrus dessert

Orange Blossom Citrus and Sweet Pistachio Dessert

A Flower Infused {Recipe Redux} Orange Blossom Recipe Using French Fleur d’Orange

Orange Flower Water recipe

With my fellow Recipe Reduxers we are celebrating this month’s recipe theme with the perfume des fleurs, using real flowers, flower infusions or flowered herbs in healthy and delicious tasting recipes. Quelle bonne idée!

Nothing brightens up a dish like a real flower! Whether you live in the northern or the southern hemisphere, edible flowers can add flavor and aroma to salads, breads, spreads, desserts or dips.”


I have this gorgeous blue bottle of orange blossom water sitting on my spice shelf gathering dust (yes, it is true) and I thought this month’s flower theme was the perfect opportunity to dust off the bottle and use some of the aromatic citrus infusion in a light tasting summer recipe.

The perfumed beauty of an orange flower water recipe is in the aromatic smell and light flower taste

Have you tasted a dessert or a dish that has been made with a dash (or two) of flower infusions, such as rose or orange water? Delightful. Why aren’t these flower waters used more often in cooking and making desserts?Je ne sais pas. The aroma from a dish that has edible flowers or flower waters adds to its appeal. I could call it ‘food aromatherapy’ because it really is like a type of alternative medicinal therapy, to breath in this orange scent, rose perfume or smell another dish that has been made with flowers. (What do you think?)

How is orange flower water made?

Here is the orange flower water that I buy in France, called “Fleur d’Oranger”. Orange blossom water is made by distilling bitter orange blossoms and using the perfumed by-product for the essential oil.

Orange Flower Water recipe

Curious on using orange flower water? If would like to order orange flower water from France, here is a link from Amazon:

I have also heard that this orange blossom water is very good too:

How orange blossom water is used in different cultures’ dishes

Orange blossom water is used in North African cooking, especially in desserts (Moroccan orange salad dessert was the inspiration for my recipe). Orange flowers are used in the celebrated Spanish King Cake, called the Roscón de Reyes and in France in Madeleines. It is used in Mexico to flavor small wedding cakes, because the tradition is to carry orange blossom flowers as part of the bridal bouquet. In the United States orange flower water is used for flavoring orange blossom scones and marshmallows.

With all these varied uses in cooking, I don’t know why orange flower water is not used more often in different recipes. Looks like Max agrees with me, check out his blog article, “Spice Hunting: Orange Blossom Water”.

I looked at different recipes using orange blossoms, and many used it by adding to a dish to make a dessert.  As the days are hot now, a light orange blossom infused citrus dish was the right choice to combine a healthy dessert using fruit, with two flavorings of honey and orange flowers and the final topping of grilled pistachios blended everything together for a textured look and crunch.

How to Make Orange Blossom Citrus and Sweet Pistachio Dessert

Orange Flower Water recipe

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 12 large navel, juice or blood oranges
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of orange flower water
  • 2 large handfuls of pistachios in their shell (about 40 pistachios)
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • optional: 12-16 sprigs of fresh mint

Preparation (tastes best when made the day before serving)

  1. Peel and slice oranges lengthwise in wedges of about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Add sliced oranges (carefully) to a large container, spread out and laid flat. When half the oranges are done being cut and laid flat, in one thick layer, top the oranges with 1 teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of orange flower water, trying to cover all the oranges with this mixture.
  3. Repeat with the second half of the oranges. (You can (very gently) mix the oranges with a large wooden spoon to be sure the sauce is well infused into the citrus.)
  4. Let the oranges marinate overnight in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.
  5. Right before serving, take oranges out of refrigerator and prepare the pistachio topping.
  6. Shell the pistachios (about 40 pistachios) and prepare the serving dishes.
  7. Put 4-5 orange slices on 8 small plates (or the plates for the amount of persons eating).
  8. In a saute pan, grill the shelled pistachios for about 30 seconds on a low heat. Sprinkle the 1 teaspoon of brown sugar on the pistachios and mix the sugar into the pistachios to cover them well.
  9. When the sugar has melted onto the pistachios, turn off the heat.
  10. Top oranges with about 5  pistachios and serve immediately.

Perfect recipe to move into the summer months, right? Have you reached the end and want to see more recipes and French inspired health tips? Why not subscribe to the BrightonYourHealth monthly newsletter and article updates?  Just click on the link and add your email. I promise not to spam you nor give your email address away!
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Inspired on more ways to flowers in dishes? Here are my Recipe Redux dietitian recipes. As always, wishing you Bon Appetit!



Warmly, Mary

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7 Responses to Orange Blossom Citrus and Sweet Pistachio Dessert

  1. Bala June 23, 2014 at 14:09 #

    This sounds and looks like a refreshing and not to mention healthy summer recipe. A few instances where I have tasted flower infused water: orange blossom water in a flan/ crème caramel type dessert at a Turkish restaurant; rose water-flavored milk, and rose water-flavored rice dishes in India.

    The blue-colored bottles are very nice to look at, hard to find these days in the US I hear, as opposed to the dark brown bottles.

    • mbrighton June 23, 2014 at 21:13 #

      Bala ! You are making my mouth water! And I agree,these gorgeous blue bottles are beautiful and they won’t be thrown away when empty. Thanks for your comment.

  2. diane boyd June 23, 2014 at 04:05 #

    Yum! I also used orange blossom water for my recipe this month and I love the stuff. Can’t wait to try your recipe!!!

  3. Regan @ The Healthy Aperture Blog June 22, 2014 at 20:09 #

    What a classic Moroccan combo. Love this!

  4. genevieve @ gratitude & greens June 22, 2014 at 18:50 #

    I’ve never tried orange blossom water before but it sounds really interesting! Will be sure to try some the next time I see it 🙂

  5. Deanna Segrave-Daly (@tspbasil) June 22, 2014 at 13:23 #

    Yum! I think I used orange blossom water once eons ago in a dessert recipe but love love the flavor combo you got going on here and I think it would be delish over all types of summer fruit too!

    • mbrighton June 22, 2014 at 18:23 #

      Hi Deanna! Grazie! Simple food. Great theme (loved this month’s unique flower idea) and super way to discover how to use my blue bottle of orange blossom flower water. The grilled pistachios were the ‘icing on the cake.’ Thanks Deanna!

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