Thursday, December 27, 2007

1970s Christmas Clementines

When we were young, Christmas always used to include a trip to our Grandad’s restaurant La Gondola. It was very chic in its day (it’s terrible now and was on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares not long ago) and my parents would have Campari at the bar, my brothers would ask Roy McFarland, Kevin Hector, Archie Gemmell and other Derby County footballers for their autographs and I would wait impatiently for the sweet trolley to be rolled in. I always picked rumbaba or the oranges in caramel. I’ve not had caramelised oranges since I was twelve but then Cousin Tilly served them up at the annual Fitzpatrick family party a couple of weeks ago. She followed a recipe from the lovely Silver Spoon cookery book and hers were indeed text book – sweet and golden and identical to the ones off the trolley. So I had a go at making some myself and burnt the caramel into a delicious dark syrup. Yes, loads of sugar but at least no added fat, unlike the tiramisu Mum served alongside them.

Serves 6

12 firm clementines
300g granulated sugar
glass of water
small glass of brandy

Cut the peel and pith from the clementines with a small sharp knife. Strip away the pith and shred the peel from about half of the clementines.

Place the sugar in a pan and set it over a high heat. Let it bubble and melt, it’ll quickly turn to dark caramel. Don’t stir but swirl the pan a bit until all the sugar is dark and molten. Turn off the heat and leave for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the water, brandy and shredded peel and simmer very gently for 1 hour until the peel has candied.

Poach the clementines in the pan of syrup, four at a time for a couple of minutes then transfer to a large serving bowl. Pour over the hot syrup and peel and leave to cool. Set aside for at least a couple of hours or overnight before eating. I love the bitterness combined with the orange but if you find it too much, you can stir in some more white sugar.

1 comment:

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