Friday, December 9, 2011

Glacé Satsuma Mandarin Orange Segments

There's something perfectly delightful about gifts from the kitchen, and the holiday season offers many opportunities to make something wonderful and delicious for family and friends.

Today's recipe uses one of our favorite winter fruits, Satsuma mandarins, to make beautiful candied orange segments that taste like orange honey and will keep for months, if they're not eaten up before then.

Making glacé fruit takes a little time, most of which is simply allowing the fruit to soak. Whole fruit or pieces of fruit are soaked in a sugar syrup for several days until they become saturated. Each day you add a little more sugar to the syrup, increasing the concentration and allowing the fruit to soak up more syrup. Once the fruit is saturated, you let it dry for a day or two and that's it.

You can use practically any fruit. The amount of time needed to fully saturate the fruit will vary depending on the size of the pieces and the type of fruit. I allowed the mandarin orange segments to soak in the syrup for a total of 10 days, adding sugar each of the first six days then allowing them to soak in the syrup at room temperature for four more days. Then I dried them on a rack for two days.

This recipe calls for a little bit of dextrose, also known as brewer's sugar. Dextrose is an invert sugar, so called because its molecular structure is inverted as compared to glucose. What's important is that it prevents the sugar from crystallizing during the the multi-day process of making glacé fruit. You can get dextrose at a home brewing (beer-making) store. There's one in Eagle Rock.

This recipe calls for 1/2 lb. of mandarin segments, but you can double the recipe if you have more mandarins.

Glacé Satsuma Mandarin Orange Segments

1/2 lb peeled Satsuma mandarin oranges
1/2 C dextrose
2 to 2-1/4 C sugar

1. Carefully separate the peeled mandarins into segments and carefully remove as much of the pith and membrane as possible.

2. Place segments in a small to medium saucepan. Cover with plenty of water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer and gently cook for 5-10 minutes, until fruit is just barely cooked through and not falling apart. Drain and discard the water.

3. In the same pot, heat 1/2 C dextrose, 3/4 C sugar, and 3 C water over medium low heat until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally and gently, only to combine. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Add the fruit to the hot syrup. Cook for 1 minute, until just heated through. Then remove from the heat and let stand overnight, uncovered, at room temperature.

4. The next day: Remove fruit from the syrup with a slotted spoon. Add 2-3 T sugar to the syrup and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add fruit back to the syrup. Remove from the heat and let stand overnight, uncovered, at room temperature.

5. For the next 4-6 days, repeat step 4 until all the sugar is used or until the mandarin segments are fully saturated with sugar.

6. After the last addition of sugar, allow the mandarin segments to soak in the syrup for another 3-4 days. Then remove the segments from the syrup. Place them on a wire rack with a pan underneath to catch the drips and allow them to dry for 8 hours or overnight, preferably in a warm dry place.

Don't discard the syrup. It'll taste like orange honey. Put it on pancakes or waffles, or stir it into tea.

You can toss the glacéed segments in fine sugar after drying or dip them in tempered chocolate to create an extra special treat.

Today's bounty included:

From Underwood Family Farms: Green leaf lettuce, red chard, bok choy, arugula, yellow carrots, turnips, celery, Kabocha squash, parsley, and Beefsteak tomatoes;

From Sage Mountain Farm: Collard greens, Red Russian kale, Red Gold tomatoes, Cherry Belle radishes, and Spring Torpedo onions;

From Weiser Family Farms: Rustic Nantes carrots, parsnips, German Butterball potatoes, and Romanesco cauliflower;

From Rancho Santa Cecilia: Satsuma mandarins.



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