A fresh fruit salad is one of the delights of summer. So many colorful and healthy berries are in season and easily available.
However, it can get monotonous quickly unless you add something special to spice up the recipe.
One way to vary a summer fruit recipe is to use liqueurs, like Grand Marnier, to make a sauce for your desserts.
What is Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier is a French orange-flavored cognac brandy. It was created in 1880 at Neauphle-le-Château, France by Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle.
Paris at that time was buzzing with excitement as the “Belle Epoque” was in full swing. And while the French have a long tradition of producing spirits, mixing distilled bitter orange with cognac was an audacious idea during that heady time.
Marnier-Lapostelle originally sold his creation under the name “Curaçao Marnier. ”
However, Cesar Ritz, the founder of the glamorous Ritz Hotel in Paris, was one of its earliest fans. He renamed the liqueur “Le Grand Marnier.”
It soon became a must-have drink at every elegant Parisian party.
What are other versions of Grand Marnier?
The “Cordon Rouge” is the most famous and widely distributed of the Grand Marnier products. Its original bottle with red ribbon and red wax seal is so pretty I think it looks like perfume! (see my photo below)
Originally, the Grand Marnier “Cordon Rouge” version, made with 51% cognac, was created to be used in mixed drinks or as a “digestif” to drink straight, not mixed, after dinner.
Other Grand Marnier products, like the “Cuvée Alexandre,” created in the 1970s, contain 82% cognac and are only for drinking, not mixing.
Grand Marnier also created the “Cuvée Centenaire” for the company’s 100th anniversary. It’s a mix of exceptional cognacs and rare exotic bitter orange essences.
The “Cuvée Centenaire” special blend is for sipping straight or over ice.
Other exceptional liqueurs, like the Grand Marnier “Quintessence,” was created in 2011 and is an assembly of very old cognacs as well as other rare ingredients.
4 ways to use Grand Marnier “Cordon Rouge” in cooking
Grand Marnier is not just for drinking: the orange, vanilla, and toffee flavors are delicious when used in the following four ways:
- to make sauces for both sweet and savory dishes like fish or chicken
- in pastries
- in soufflés
- in other desserts like the famous Crêpes Suzette
Summer Fruit Salad RECIPE: Grand Marnier cream sauce for mixed berries
Here’s an easy way to make a Grand Marnier sauce to pour over a summer fruit salad of mixed berries:
(Serves 6 )
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup of sugar
- ¼ cup of Grand Marnier “Cordon Rouge”
- 1 pint of heavy cream, whipped
- 4 pints of berries (1 pint each of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
-Beat egg yolks with sugar over a double boiler on medium-high heat until the yolks are thick and creamy.
-Whisk in the Grand Marnier.
-Let the sauce cool off the heat
-Gently fold the whipped cream into the Grand Marnier sauce.
-Top mixed berries in individual bowls with the Grand Marnier cream sauce.
This easy, gluten-free Grand Marnier sauce will enhance any plain summer fruit salad. It can also be used to top other desserts like crepes or pound cake.
Grand Marnier is one of the great classic French liqueurs that is also very versatile: you can have it as an after-dinner drink or mixed into cocktails, in sauces for desserts, or in sauces for savory dishes like fish or chicken.
It’s a must-have ingredient for a French-inspired kitchen!
More Ideas: How do the French quickly jazz up simple starters and desserts?
The French add variety to dishes with simple, easy tricks while keeping them healthy.
For example, here’s a recipe for a summer tomato salad that you can spice up with vanilla.
And for another take on fruit salad, read about how the French love to add a splash of distilled flower water to enhance a fresh fruit salad.
And now you: Have you tried Grand Marnier? Send me an email and let me know!
Photos courtesy of Unsplash and the author at nancyconway.com