A refreshing palate cleanser.
1-1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 cups water
Juice of half a lemon
1 medium fennel bulb
2 seedless navel oranges
1/3 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup mascarpone
2-3 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp orange liqeur such as Cointreau or Triple Sec (optional)
Zest from one of the oranges
Fennel fronds for garnish
Step 1: Combine water, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil to dissolve sugar. Remove stems and cut the fennel bulb in half. Remove the solid core and slice into 3/8" slices. Place fennel in the sugar water and simmer for about 45 to 50 minutes or until fennel is translucent and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then refrigerate in the syrup.
Step 2: Zest or grate the rind of one orange and reserve the zest. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pulp from the oranges, and slice vertically into the orange next to the membrane to remove the sections whole.
Step 3: In a small bowl mix mascarpone, sugar, liqueur and orange zest until smooth.
Step 4: On individual plates, layer chilled fennel pieces (cutting larger fennel pieces into strips if necessary) and orange slices alternately; top with raspberries and a generous scoop of orange mascarpone. Drizzle each plate with the syrup from the candied fennel, garnish with fronds and serve.
Makes 4 to 6 servings