Saturday, February 8, 2014

Oranges project - marmalade, candied slices and caramelised segments

I had a beautiful big bag of oranges and a plan to make candied peel (recipe to follow soon) for hot cross buns coming up in April. This would use just the skins of just 3, and so I looked around for some other exciting things to do with the remaining fruit. The result was a bit of an 'orange project day' in the kitchen, producing marmalade, candied orange peel and slices, and caramelised orange segments. All that hot syrup and bright fruit is the perfect way to warm yourself up on a chilly February day!

Firstly, Lily Vanilli's Sweet Tooth book has a a lovely and simple way to use up the orange segments left over from making candied peel. After removing the segments one by one from the peeled orange, you melt sugar in a pan to make caramel and stop it with juice from the fruit.

Stir in the segments once the caramel is cool. We tried them with yoghurt honey and granola and they were lovely.

Next up was the marmalade. I used Dan Lepard's excellent recipe although my oranges were not the bitter Seville variety called for to make a proper marmalade. I wonder if we can get bitter oranges in Tokyo? Surely we can..!

Soaking the orange slices overnight

This recipe involved soaking the squeezed and sliced oranges in their juice plus water. I was supposed to soak the pips separately in a cup of water, but my oranges had no pips! Or I should say, the pips were so tiny as to be insignificant. Still, there was no problem with the mixture setting at the end and so it didn't appear to be a problem.

Dan has us boiling the slices for 2-3 hours without the sugar until the peels are soft and squishy. Once the sugar (white, and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar) and lemon juice are added, the mixture boils up considerably and the consistency changes from watery to syrupy as the water boils off and the amount of sugar in the mixture is concentrated.

We're supposed to boil the marmalade until it reaches 105C, let it cool slightly and then transfer to sterilised jars. I quite liked this non-bitter orange version of marmalade, there was a little bit of pleasing bitterness to it still, perhaps from the pith. Lovely on toast!

Finally another Vanilli recipe to use up the remainder of the oranges, candied slices. You prepare a simple syrup of water (300ml) and sugar (125g) and boil the fruit in it until they start to become translucent. This took about 1 hour. For French-style fully candied fruit that is hard and has a long shelf-life, you would need to boil them over a number of days to replace all of the water content with super-saturated syrup. These are a little more delicate, still being quite soft, and they would look smashing on chocolate cake or on top of an orange-drizzle cake.

There we go, a a bit of a nose-to-tail day of cooking with oranges, and an awful lot of sugar!

Now I fancy having a go at the hot marmalade pudding from the Hawksmoor cook book, or perhaps this one. Sounds very wintery and special, especially with a boozy sauce.

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