Monday, March 16, 2009

Seville Orange Marmalade

Seville Orange MarmaladeI first heard about Seville oranges after buying a local cookbook called A Year at Les Fougères, an award-winning book about the four seasons in the life of a local restaurant. Les Fougères is a French restaurant tucked into the woodland landscape of the Gatineau hills across the river from Ottawa in a little village called Chelsea. I dined there for my birthday last year and besides the delicious meal, I was taken with the gourmet shop. It was filled with fun culinary items, and I enjoyed reading every label and playing out in my mind all the things I could do with white truffle oil, aged balsamic vinegar or Seville Orange Marmalade.

Last week, I took a little foodie field trip back to Les Fougères and their gourmet shop to buy some of their Seville Orange Marmalade since I didn't expect to have the time to make marmalade, and I wanted some for the next Tuesdays with Dorie cake (coming tomorrow). It was a bright, crisp day as I headed over the river to Quebec and into the hills in search of their famous marmalade.

Les FougèresI loved poking around their store again this Spring afternoon, and purchased a couple of things, including their marmalade. After visiting Les Fougères, I felt inspired to cook up my own batch having never tried making it before.

For my first try at making marmalade, I used some citrus I had in the refrigerator from last week's baking adventures. This batch didn't gel. I even boiled it twice hoping it would congeal a bit more. However, I think the citrus I used didn't have enough natural pectin in it. After this attempt, I focused my efforts on finding Seville oranges.

These oh-so-bitter oranges from Spain are only available a short time, and I was lucky to find the last bin of them at the grocery store. (Actually, it was thanks to the help of another local food blogger, Jeffery from Nose to Tail in Ottawa, who knew which grocery stores still had them for sale in our city.) The selection was slim, but I didn't want to wait another year before giving this marmalade a try.

Seville OrangesRecipe

Makes 9 cups

6-10 Seville oranges
7½ cups sugar
¼ cup Scotch whiskey or cognac (optional)

Wash the oranges and then slice them into six pieces. Put them in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours, or until the peel is soft.

With a slotted spoon, remove the oranges from the water. Reserve the cooking water. Scrape out the inside (pulp and pips) of the orange with a grapefruit spoon. Strain the pulp and pips with a fine-meshed strainer, reserving the liquid. Discard the pulp and pips.

Scrape the peels so that the peel is thin and mostly orange. Thinly slice the peels into strips. Return the strips to the cooking water along with the reserved liquid. Let sit overnight to develop pectin and flavor.

The next day, add the sugar to the cooking water and orange peels. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the mixture reaches 217˚F or 103˚C (this can take from 20-60 minutes).

If you're adding Scotch whiskey or cognac, heat it in the microwave or on top of the stove until warm. Remove the pot from the stove and slowly pour it in. Quickly flambé, if desired. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

To test for doneness, put some marmalade on a plate and check that it wrinkles when you push it with your finger.

Cool the marmalade. Pour into sterilized jars and seal immediately (following canning directions including boiling in a water bath for 20 minutes).

Seville Orange Marmalade from Les Fougères
Seville Orange Marmalade from Les Fougères: $8.50 (CAD)

Tasting Notes
This marmalade is sweet, sticky, orangey with a hint of bitter from the peel. Glazed over the French Yogurt Cake for tomorrow's Tuesdays with Dorie: it's perfect

Note: My batch of Seville Orange Marmalade cost $9.27 (CAD) for 9 cups.
• Background about marmalade
• Information about Making Marmalade
• Recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade from Les Fougères
• Another Recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade
• Tutorial and recipe for making Seville Orange Marmalade from Elise of Simply Recipes

Winner—Maple Sugar
I had 105 comments on my maple syrup series last week, and the random generator came up with #81. So, after counting out the comments, I discovered it was Ari from Baking and Books who won a jar of maple sugar. Ari has a wonderful blog that I've been enjoying for a long time. I first discovered her blog when she did an interview with Dorie Greenspan. Ari has an intelligent, delicious blog that I highly recommend visiting! Thanks, Ari!

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    Anonymous said...

    Well, I'm inspired! The color of your marmalade is brilliant. Love all the photos and the tale of your trip to find Sevilles. Thanks for the recipe!

    chriesi said...

    Beautiful marmalade!

    pam said...

    Marmalade is not something I've attempted yet. Yours is absolutely beautiful. How do you plan on using it?

    Tom said...

    Looks delicious! I actually embarked my own endeavor to make marmalade, of the blood orange variety, and posted the results on my blog. I've never seen Seville oranges in these parts, unfortunately. I've heard they're the perfect marmalade orange.

    Monica H said...

    The deep rich color of your maramalade is gorgeous!

    Ashley said...

    I am dying to make marmalade.. I just need to get the right oranges... none of the supermarket variety are good enough here :( I think a saturday trip to the union square market may be coming soon :D

    Elyse said...

    What a great post! If you can't find this rare marmalade, why not just make it yourself?! How perfect.

    Taste of Beirut said...

    Your marmelade looks beautiful. I am looking for seville oranges as they are used in lebanese savory cooking as well, but have not had any luck so far.

    Anonymous said...

    So I'm assuming that you add the reserved liquid to the cooking water?

    Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

    That's right. Add the reserved liquid back to the cooking water. I've fixed this omission. Thanks for pointing this out!

    Cherry Blossom said...

    I made this last night ist absolutly wonderful - thank you so much!!