A fresh fruit salad is one of the delights of summer since so many berries are in season and easily available. However, things can get monotonous quickly unless you add something special. One way to vary a summer fruit recipe is to use liqueurs, like Grand Marnier, to make a Grand Marnier sauce for your desserts.
La Belle Epoque
Grand Marnier is a French orange-flavored cognac brandy created in 1880 at Neauphle-le-Château 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 glamourous 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.
Other Grand Marnier Versions
Originally, the “Cordon Rouge” version, with its 51% cognac, was created to be used in mixed drinks or as a “digestif” after dinner. Other Grand Marnier products, like the “Cuvée Alexandre,” created in the 1970s, contains 82% cognac and is only for drinking.
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. This 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.
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 it almost looks like perfume!
But it’s not just for drinking: the orange and vanilla flavors are delicious when used to make sauces, pastries, soufflés, and other desserts, like the famous Crêpes Suzette.
Here’s an easy way to to make a Grand Marnier sauce to pour over a summer fruit salad of mixed berries:
RECIPE: Grand Marnier Sauce for Mixed Berries
(Serves 6 )
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup of sugar
- ¼ cup of Grand Marnier
- 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 cool off the heat and gently fold in the whipped cream.
-Top mixed berries in individual bowls with the Grand Marnier 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 use it for drinking, making sauces for desserts or in sauces for savory dishes like fish or chicken. It’s a must-have ingredient for a French-inspired kitchen!
Want to know more about how the French quickly jazz up simple desserts? Read about how they love to add a splash of distilled flower waters to enhance a fresh fruit salad.
And now you: Have you tried Grand Marnier? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Photos courtesy of Unsplash and the author at nancyconway.com