The Orange-Cardamom Morir Soñando

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In The Last Course, Claudia Fleming says that her Orange Cardamom Shake was adapted from a drink made by Dominican Republican prep cooks in the Gramercy Tavern kitchen. It looked a bit thin to be a shake to me, so a little googling revealed that it was based on the Morir Soñando, a Dominican Republican drink made with juice, milk, sugar, and ice. “Morir Soñando” translates as “to die dreaming.” Since that’s so much more poetic than “shake,” I am re-christening my version with that name. Incidentally, I also came across a Mexican drink made from fresh fruit and milk, called a Licuado… another lovely name.

Anyway, my first adaptation of the shake was delicious — popping with orange and cardamom — but the ensuing sugar buzz almost cancelled out the benefits of the taste (to be fair, I used ice cream where she called for creme fraiche, so that degree of sweetness wasn’t her intention). So, in between cherry tomato peeling sessions this week, I’ve been making milky syrups, juicing oranges, and drinking many morir soñandos with Chad.

They’re fantastic on a hot summer afternoon. They are somewhat filling, but less so than a bowl of ice cream or an American-style shake. And it’s a good time to use Valencia Oranges, often referred to as “juice oranges.” They’re in season during the summer, so it’s okay to give stone fruit a break or two. It’s also okay if they have patches of green peel; I almost prefer it b/c it means that they haven’t been artificially colored.
Basically, the drink is a combination of sweetened, flavored milk (rather like a milk-based simple syrup) and orange juice. Ice and ice cream are blended in for added coolness, thickness, and flavor. Its texture is thinner than heavy cream, and it has a delightfully frothy head.

  • I’ve been lucky enough to use my homemade Philadelphia-style noyaux ice cream, made from the almond-like nuggets in the middle of stone fruit pits; it has an Amaretto-like flavor that suits this drink very well.
  • I once used yogurt instead of ice cream, but I didn’t like the tang or the texture. It was too smoothie-like — not much fun in a spiked drink…
  • Dark rum is a great addition. I never measure it. Just pour in however much you like, or none at all.
  • I’ve prescribed a relatively small amount of sugar. You may want a little more; the sweetness of your ice cream can affect this, too.
  • This recipe is easily customizable. The spice, ice cream, and alcohol can be changed to make different flavors. Cinnamon, allspice, clove, lemon, vanilla, chocolate, peach, Amaretto, Brandy, Vodka, Grand Marnier…
  • Organic where possible is best, esp since the orange peel is used. I also like Organic Valley Milk.
  • If you make a big batch of milky syrup, you can use it up drink by drink over the course of a few days.
  • I suspect that you could do away with the infusing part (and omit the orange peel), and you’d still have a nice drink. I’ve never tried it, though.

Orange-Cardamom Morir Soñando
Yield: about 3 Servings

1 cup Whole Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
Strips of Orange Peel from 1/2 an Orange
Large Pinch of Ground Cardamom
1 cup Orange Juice, from about 3-4 oranges
1 scoop of Ice Cream, such as Noyaux or Vanilla
1/2 cup Ice Cubes
Alcohol to taste, such as Mount Gay Rum Eclipse

Over medium heat, bring the milk, sugar, orange peel, and cardamom to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, cover, and infuse for 20 minutes. Strain, and chill until cold.

In a blender, combine the chilled milk mixture, orange juice, ice cream, and ice. Blend until smooth. If desired, add alcohol, and pulse to combine.

Serve immediately.

5 Responses to “The Orange-Cardamom Morir Soñando”

  1. Doug Says:

    looks delicious – kind of like an orange creamsicle in shake form. The sugar buzz would likely put me to sleep though 😉

  2. a reader Says:

    Licuado simply means shake in Spanish. (It literally means “liquified”) Licuados are not as thick as our American shakes. They are a drink, not a dessert. The way to spell dreaming in Spanish is with a squiggle over the first N. Like this: soñando. In order to get that on your keyboard, hold down the option key while pressing down on the N key. Then type N again. (the option N will produce the squiggle; typing N again puts the N under the squiggle)

    You might want to check out 750 ML on Mission Street in South Pas. They are serving a divine cardamom and lemon pot de creme right now.

  3. Nina Says:

    Doug – Thanks 🙂 Actually, I once used *double* the amount of sugar in the recipe above… I thought my head going to explode.

    Reader – Thanks for the squiggle line tip — I’d never been able to figure out how to do it before. I just went through my keyboard holding the option key, and a whole other world has been revealed! √ that off my list of things to figure out. 🙂

  4. Flatliner Says:

    On the “Ñ ñ”, for PC users, that will be 164 or +165.

    Also, another word for “licuado” is Batido or Batida.

  5. Flatliner Says:

    Sorry I meant ALT + 164 or ALT + 165

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