This story actually begins 12 years ago when I made my first Il Timpano. Two and a half agonizing days to produce the large, tub shaped pasta, cheese, meat and sauce filled drum. Layers of savory sauces, precision sliced meats and hand-made pastas, lovingly prepared, painstakingly cooked and sleep deprived assembly to produce that culinary masterpiece. Was it worth it…really? No, probably not. It was good, my dinner guests loved it, but did the effort and time involved weigh against the end product? I probably could have just done one of the ingredient components of the dish and they would have been equally as happy…. and, I would have had two good night’s sleep to boot.
But easy isn’t really the point. I always seem to find myself elbow deep in some cooking project. It’s important to me to fully commit myself to a food project and to do it as it was originally done… at least once. Only then can you fully appreciate the effort involved in creating complex flavors, and the traditions created in preserving and guarding old family recipes.
Four years ago I chose to attempt a La Pastiera Napoletana – an Italian grain and cheese tart. And once again, I recreated every step. I made my own ricotta.. I dutifully soaked the whole wheat berries the full eight days to allow them to slightly ferment creating a warm cheese-like aroma. Since I could not find a supplier for the candied zucchini, grapefruit and hard squash – I made my own. The soaking, slow cooking, and ingredient preparation – 12 days in total. It was (is) in short, cheesy nirvana, and worth every minute I spent in the kitchen. It is a beautiful dessert and I will be recreating it here later on this year (it is typically an Easter dessert).
Then came the 30 days to make my own preserved lemons. I’ve already written about them in All That Lemony Goodness No, they aren’t terribly complicated, but they do require attention and handling. And..well.. it’s time consuming. But you end up with beautiful salted lemons, useful in 100’s of recipes and they can be added to just about any poultry or lamb dish.
This year’s project began with a bag of Clementines that had begun to dry up and shrivel a bit from holiday overload. I had watched a Jamie Oliver program earlier in the season in which he had used glasee oranges in a fruitcake preparation. I wanted some.
After being unable to find any purveyor for them in the States, or anyone in the UK that was willing to export any. I began to research what it would take to make my own.
Once again… this isn’t terribly difficult… it’s just the new ball and chain for the year. I am now into the second 10-day soak on the fruits. I am going to detail the process up to where we are now. I will finish this story in 15 days – after the soak and drying stages are complete.
Makes 12 Candied Oranges
2 Cups Light Corn Syrup
1 5 Pound Bag of Sugar
4 Cups Water
1-Gallon Spring-Top Glass Jar
- Thoroughly wash and scrub the oranges
- With the paring knife, Cut an “X” about 1″ long into the bud and stem end of each orange – Make sure the knife cuts completely through the orange from each cut
- Place the boiler on high heat and bring the water to a boil
- Reduce to simmer and add the “x”‘d oranges
- Place a steamer basket on top of the fruit to insure they stay submerged, and simmer for 1 hour
- Remove the oranges and drain, reserving 2 cups of the simmering water
- Add 1 Cup of corn syrup and 1 Cup of sugar to the water and bring to a boil
Place the oranges into the glass jar and pour the syrup over them. Seal and let steep 24 hours.
The next day:
- Pour the syrup off the oranges and transfer it to the boiler
- Add 1/2 Cup of corn syrup and 1/2 Cup of sugar and bring to a boil
- Pour the syrup back over the oranges, seal and let steep for 24 hours
- The next day, Repeat, but omit the corn syrup and only add the sugar. Boil – Pour – Seal – Steep 24 Hours
Repeat this step 5 times.
- At the end of the 5th day:
- Transfer the steeping liquid back to the boiler
- Add 1 Cup of sugar and bring to a boil
- Reduce the heat to medium low and transfer the oranges to the pot
- Simmer in the syrup for 15 minutes
- Return the oranges and syrup to the jar, seal and steep for 3 days
Repeat this step once more.
- At the end of the 2nd 3-day steep, your syrup will begin to look like light honey.
- Return the syrup to the boiler, add the final 1/2 cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup of corn syrup and bring to a final boil
- Add the oranges, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes
- Transfer the whole lot back to the jar, seal and let steep for 3 weeks.
This is where we are now. We will be back at the end of the last soak to complete our Glaśee Clementines.
Don’t forget – if you haven’t entered the TFX Non Stick! giveaway, you have until January 24th at 12 noon EST to enter! Jump back to the entry rules here.
Toby @ Plate Fodder