Friday, 10 February 2012

Updated: Four Fruit Marmalade

What with the snow, I fully wasn't expecting Mr Ocado to turn up with my food delivery this evening so after a sleepless night (thanks to endometriosis pain - not at all pleasant), I was up at 4am, baking fresh bread like the good wife that I am.

On the subject of being a Good Wife, I've recently started following @GoodWifesGuide on Twitter.  I swear the husband secretly authors this.  Recent advice has included "When going to the chip shop a Good Wife will always pick the cheapest meal on the menu. To stay slim she will give him some of her chips", "A Good Wife will be looking for new lingerie for Valentines Day, most husbands would like this " and "A Good Wife will get together with other wives in the street to dig husbands cars out of the snow, it makes sense to team up."  Quite clearly, despite everything I do, I am not a Good Wife.

Anyway, Mr Ocado duly turned up with my shopping and a huge pile of citrus fruit that I'd ordered to have a go at Dan Lepard's Three Fruit Marmalade.  Except the couple of oranges that I had in my fruit bowl were quite small so I ended up adding in a couple of limes to make up the kilo of fruit that was required.
Chopped fruit, ready for cooking

Apparently, making marmalade Dan's way is far easier.  I understand that normally it involves a lot of faffy peeling of fruit, slicing the rind into thin strips and then putting the pips into a muslin square to go into the mix as the pectin helps the marmalade to set.  Instead, using Lepard's recipe, you just quarter the fruit, sling it into a pan with some water and leave it to boil for a couple of hours.

Once the fruit skins are soft, you scoop out the innards, slice or dice the skins and then boil with the liquid and sugar.  The recipe also has a lower sugar content because it apparently gives it the 'punchiest flavour and best set'.  I'm still waiting for mine to set having just bottled it.  The idea is to road test it on some of the leftover toasted bread in the morning.

Lepard also says to not use Sevilles in the recipe.  As I struggled for the kilo of fruit, I did have to throw in a couple of them.  They do add a slight bitter taste to the marmalade even now it's had 400g of sugar added to the mix.  Definitely wouldn't work with any more in there.

Boiled fruit skins
As for chopping up the peel, I went for chunky strips.  I didn't use it all - probably only about half.  If you look at the picture with the recipe, it looks to be almost entirely composed of peel.  That doesn't quite work for me so I discarded a selection of the skins.  The regular orange skins just disintegrated and it was really hard to scrape the inner fibres off so they got binned.  The I used one lime skin - one was nice and soft, the other quite firm.  But the most buttery of them all was the grapefruit skin.  I was surprised because before cooking, it seemed to have the most pith and I was a bit worried it wouldn't be of any use.

Getting the mixture up to final temperature took far longer than expected.  At one point, I began to think all the reviews about my Heston thermometer were right as it just seemed to stick at 102.8c.  But eventually, after deciding to catch up on few work emails while I waited, it hit the magic 104c allowing me to bottle it.

And now I'm waiting.  Roll on breakfast!

The original recipe can be found here.  To make my recipe, I used one pink grapefruit, two limes, two lemons, three oranges and one Seville orange.

And one top tip - the sugar goes in at the second stage.  I misread the recipe and put the sugar in the pan first with water and fruit.  What a waste of 400g of sugar.  No cake making for me this weekend.

Update 13th Feb 2012 - Sadly the marmalade didn't set overnight so nothing for my fresh toast on Saturday morning.  This was rectified, however, by reboiling the marmalade to 105c the following day with 1.5 tbsp of Certo pectin thrown in.  Tis very tasty (although it tastes better on something than straight from the jar).  Will try and post a picture of it soon!

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