Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée (topped with Macerated Oranges)

An Italian-French fusion recipe of sweet risotto. This delightful dessert is finished off with oranges macerated in Cointreau.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée in tea cup topped with macerated oranges
Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée in a tea cup

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée, yes, it’s a sweet risotto. And it has 3 of my favourite things in a single dish:

  • Cointreau and Orange – my go-to drink when I fancy something quick and easy. See the image below.
  • Risotto – it’s rice, it’s Italian, need I say more?
  • Brulée – there is something so sexy and satisfying in breaking through that hard caramelised layer of sugar to get to the luscious bounty underneath
Cointreau and Orange with D.O.M. Bénédictine
Cointreau and Orange with Bénédictine

A Favourite Recipe

I first made this sweet risotto in the summer, for some clients celebrating their golden anniversary. Their daughter asked for something special made just for them, and this is what I came up with. It was, thankfully, a big hit!

Incidentally, I also catered for their 40th wedding anniversary, and various other family birthdays over the past decade.

So, our Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée is essentially rice pudding. No, no, no. Stop right there!

This is no ordinary, or worse still, stodgy, school dinner type rice pudding. This is an upmarket, stylish, classy, red nails and red Louboutins type of rice pudding! 

Spiked with Cointreau.

Flavoured with Orange.

Then bruléed baby, bru-léed!

Oh, did I mention it’s so easy to make? And, wait for this … drumroll, please …

It’s a make ahead dessert!

In the world of “I love to entertain”, that’s always a Godsend. Especially in one’s Louboutins.😉

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée
Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée in little ramekins

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée Recipe

It’s a pretty easy recipe. This is how we do it:

  1. We start off by macerating the oranges, which go in the fridge
  2. Then we make the Cointreau and Orange Risotto, which is then placed in the fridge for a minimum 4 hours
  3. When the risotto is cold, we layer the top with sugar, which we then caramelise with a kitchen torch or grill (broiler in American speak)
  4. Finally, we top the risotto brulée with the macerated oranges and syrup

Let’s talk Flavour

I can’t tell you exactly how I came up with the combination, apart from the fact that as usual, it came to me as I was about to go to sleep. As Cointreau is something I cook with, and drink, regularly, I must have started there. And “Cointreau and orange” is a phrase that’s embedded in my head, so it must have been just a natural progression!

The flavour of the rice pudding itself is fairly nondescript. It’s creamy, with a hint of orange from the orange zest and Cointreau. And a touch musky, if you choose to use the Orange Flower Water.

It’s what we top the risotto with, that’s full of flavour; the orange (tangerine, satsuma) segments are macerated in a combination of Cointreau, orange juice and sugar. The result is a sweet, citrusy, syrupy topping with definite hits of alcohol. The topping completes the dish.

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée
pretty as a picture


Click here to read more.

Cointreau is a French orange liqueur, and to me, the standard. You can substitute it with any orange liqueurs that you like. Cointreau has a high alcohol content, 40% abv. Chances are, any substitute Triple Sec will be around 27%, which is not necessarily a bad thing, right?

Orange Flower Water

Orange flower water, also known as orange blossom water, is basically water that’s been flavoured with orange blossoms. It is a very common flavouring in Middle Eastern and North African cooking, and is pretty easy to find here in the UK. Our regular, large supermarkets stock them alongside the vanilla and rose water.

Otherwise, you should be able to find it in baking shops and most certainly, online. It’s fantastic for flavouring custards, ice creams, panna cotta, and even savoury dishes like rice and couscous.

I’ve given it as optional here, because if truth be told, I’m not a massive fan, I’m a rose water kind of girl. However, I did use it in the original recipe, and so, have included it here.

Jazz Up this Dessert

If you like your rice pudding “with bits”, you could add some raisins, nuts and/or chopped up candied fruit, like these ones. But go easy, as you don’t want to overdo it.

After all, the beauty of this Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée is the contrast between the creamy, almost plain risotto and the citrusy, nectarous topping.

Make Ahead

Both the risotto and the macerated oranges can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep them covered and in the fridge.

That’s it. Let’s get cooking. Are you a fan of rice puddings?

If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating! Thank you!

If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor.

Lin xx

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Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée in tea cup topped with macerated oranges

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulee (topped with Macerated Oranges)

Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée recipe, an Italian-French fusion recipe of sweet risotto. This delightful dessert is finished off with oranges macerated in Cointreau. (Total time does not reflect chilling time).
5 from 50 votes
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Italian/French Fusion
Keyword: dessert, italian, risotto
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 507kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 750 ml milk
  • 125 ml double cream/thick cream
  • 150 g arborio rice
  • 60 g white sugar
  • finely chopped zest of 2 large oranges
  • 2 Tbsp Cointreau
  • 1 Tbsp orange flower water optional
  • 4 heaped tsp of white sugar

Topping (Macerated Oranges)

  • 2 easy peel oranges like satsuma or tangerine
  • juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cointreau


Macerated Oranges

  • Peel the oranges, divide them into segments and place in a bowl.
  • Add the orange juice, sugar and Cointreau and stir thoroughly.
  • Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Stir 2-3 times in that time to ensure that the orange segments are throughly soaked with all the flavours.

Cooking the Cointreau and Orange Risotto

  • Place the milk, cream, rice, sugar and half the orange zest in a medium saucepan on medium heat and bring to a boil. Don’t rinse the rice before hand. And keep an eye on the mix, as milk will suddenly boil over.
  • Once it reaches boiling point, lower the heat, and give it a stir. Leave it simmering, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring 2-3 times more during the cooking time.
  • At the end of the 30 minutes, the rice will be done, and the risotto will be thick like rice pudding. If you want it thicker, cook it for another 5 minutes or so. Just remember that it will thicken when cold.
  • Take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the orange zest, the Cointreau and orange flower water, if using.
  • Dish out into little ramekin dishes, tea cups or any dessert glasses. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Can be made up to 2 days ahead.

The Brulée

  • Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar on each risotto.
  • Using a kitchen torch on medium, caramelise the sugar topping until a deep golden brown to dark brown. Be careful not to burn it. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, place the dishes under a medium-high grill for 2-3 minutes.


  • Top the the Cointreau and Orange Risotto with the macerated orange segments and drizzle the Cointreau and orange syrup all over.


Total time does not include chilling time of he oranges nor the risotto.


Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 911IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 258mg | Iron: 2mg
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46 thoughts on “Cointreau and Orange Risotto Brulée (topped with Macerated Oranges)”

  1. I’ve bookmarked this recipe to make on the next special occasion that comes up. You were truly inspired when you created of this dessert! the combination of orange, liqueur and rice sounds amazing!

    1. Thank you, Maartje. Sure, that’s pretty easy to do, just replace the milk with anything non dairy. Soya or almond will work. And I’m pretty Cointreau is vegan.

  2. Post about a desert really attracts me, This desert looks so tasty. according to your instructions I will try this soon.
    xo Corina

  3. I just love everything about this! Everyone can dig right in!! My husband would absolutely love these. This would disappear in no time at our house!

  4. Wow, what a well written blog post! I sure do love desserts and I’d love to try this recipe out. Comparing food with designer shoes was questionable, but none the less a very out there concept! Good job!

  5. Rachael Eberhardt

    I have never tried to eat a desserts with liquor ingredients but this recipe of yours looks really delicious and I am sure my sister would love to try this.

  6. I love dessert with a liqueur as one of the hero ingredients. I’ve added this to my pocket and will try it one of these days. Do you think this would work with Gran Marnier instead of Cointreau?

  7. I have never tried brulee before, but I have heard that it is really good. I’ll definitely have to give this recipe a try sometime!

  8. This sounds like a lovely dessert! When I was little rice pudding was one of my favorite treats. I used to top it with sour cherries jam or cinnamon. I love it warm and I can imagine how delicious yours, especially heated up.

  9. I like how you use the beautiful cup to serve this dessert. The ingredient used was oranges which is very easy to obtain. I like to give it a go.

  10. Deborah Salko

    Just reading my post made my stomach growl. I am so going to enjoy this when I try it!

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