For the past few years I have been coveting a French copper preserving pan, they’re horrendously expensive and I never thought to actually own one…..oh yes….. Christmas morning there was a huge box for me to un-wrap and there amidst a mass of brown paper was the most beautiful (and possibly the largest) copper pan. After running around the house with it laughing like a crazy lady who has the worlds best boyfriend, I then sat on the sofa cuddling it for the rest of the morning.
I really like the softer set French jams and I tried to incorporate this technique slightly as I christened the pan with the first of this years preserves.
900g Seville oranges
2.25 litres of water
1.8 kg granulated sugar
1 large lemon
A piece of muslin (a piece about 30 cm squared should be fine)
First you need to prepare your fruit. I scrub mine really hard in very hot water using a new nail scrubbing brush.
Cut the fruit in half and then using a squeezer, squeeze and reserve the juice.
Place the muslin into a bowl where the muslin edges hang over the sides. Put the pips into here.
Rip out all the flesh and pithy part of the fruit. (this is extremely lovely to do…like bashing digestive biscuits for a cheesecake base) Place all of this into the muslin as well and then tie the four corners together tightly.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the orange and lemon peel as finely as you can. I find it easier to cut the fruit with the white side up. Put the cut fruit into a large stock pan.
Add the muslin tied pith and pips. Pour in the fruit juice and finally pour in the water.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for a couple of hours on the lowest setting. Give the fruit a stir every so often.
Leave to cool completely, then cover the pan with cling-film and leave over-night. I find that this helps the fruit to soften even more.
Next day, clean and sterilise your jars.
Tip into your preserving pan the sugar, lift in the muslin bag, and then pour over the cooked fruit and liquid.
Bring to a roiling boil, all the time stirring. This can take a while.
Once the marmalade has reached the rolling boil, allow it to do so for between 5-7 minutes. test for a set after 5 minutes.
If it is setting, turn off the heat and transfer into your sterilised jars.
I don’t know why but these oranges seemed to produce quite a lot of scum while they were cooking, I did remove some but to be quite honest, this is marmalade for me and I don’t really find it to be a problem once the preserve has cooled.
The copper pan was shallower than my normal preserving pan, and it was certainly a lot wider at the top, this made the rolling boil seem rather scary as there just seemed to be such a large expanse of furiously boiling sugary liquid. However it looked incredible as the marmalade reflected off the copper.
Once the heat was turned off I removed a bit more of the white scum before ladling the marmalade into my jars.
I tend to leave it for a day or so before eating it. This makes a slightly softer set marmalade and has become my favourite preserve to make.
I am a little bit like Paddington Bear in that I do like a marmalade sandwich, maybe not to the point of keeping one under my hat but I do like them very much, and this marmalade is really very nice in a sandwich.