Tuesday, January 17, 2012
It is surely one of the laws of the universe that grad students are the only people who inhabit campus 365 days a year, even over the holidays, and even during that vacation week between Christmas and New Year's. But, you know? I don't care. Because this means that I had first dibs to the bountiful citrus harvest from the trees on campus this year! Haha, suckers! So the lesson? When life gives you lemons and forces you to work over Christmas break... ....make marmalade! :D
I don't often say a lot of nice things about Stanford (after all, I have to maintain allegiance to my undergraduate alma mater--Go Bears!), but one thing I'll give it is the wonderful plethora of fruit trees on campus (plus, I would be hesitant to eat anything out of Berkeley trees, for I've heard those stories of toxic waste run-off in the creek!). In the corner where the history department is located on the Stanford campus sit loads and loads of citrus trees, with branches brimming full of white grapefruits! and oranges of all types! and lemons! Usually, when classes are in session, the low-hanging fruit gets picked off pretty quickly, but during the winter break, far more fruit remains in reach. So when two good friends (incidentally, from my undergraduate days at Berkeley) came to visit after Christmas, we made sure to go and plunder the Citrus Corner to our hearts' content.
With the resulting pounds upon pounds of random citrus fruits I ended up with on my kitchen table, I figured that the only course of action was to make marmalade--a Stanford citrus marmalade, to be exact--so that none of the fruit would go to waste waiting for me to eat it all. ... of course, then I had to figure out what to do with the resulting jars upon jars of the at once sweet and bitter but delicious through-and-through marmalade I ended up with after that. :)
Enter the almond and citrus marmalade crostata. For some reason, I used to be unconvinced that jam could make a robust-enough filling for a tart, eschewing it in favor of other types of tart fillings, like cream or even plain candied oranges. But then, at a recent Blue Chair Fruit event, I had my first encounter with a jam-filled crostata (an Italian-style tart). The nutty, substantially thicker, crumbly crust and the tightly-woven lattice top of a crostata, it turns out, make the perfect vessel for a thin but flavorful layer of sweet jam--better, in my opinion, than your average, more delicate pate sucree-style tart crust. Armed with my jars of marmalade, I jumped at the chance to try a crostata again, this time with the slightly bitter filling of the Stanford citrus marmalade.
I have to say that I think I prefer the marmalade version to a berry-based jam crostata, mainly because the sharp tangs of bitterness in the citrus punctuate the sweetness of the marmalade and almond buttery-ness in the crust. And, I also really liked the chewy chunks of candied citrus peel in the marmalade that texturally lend the tart a bit of bite every now and then. To serve, pair the crostata with some tea that has a spoonful of citrus marmalade mixed in for good measure. :)
Who says grad students can't have (delicious) fun over winter break?
Read on for recipe....
Three Citrus "Stanford" Marmalade
from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
makes ten 8-oz. jars
Note: make sure to allot two days for the marmalade process.
5 lbs of citrus, total:
~2 lbs grapefruit
~1 1/2 lbs oranges
~1 1/2 lbs lemons
5 lbs sugar
5 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Day 1: Fruit Preparation
1. Starting with the grapefruits, cut each fruit in half and squeeze and strain the grapefruit juice. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator. Place the grapefruit halves in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Discard the liquid and repeat the boiling and simmering once more. After draining, cover the grapefruit halves again with enough cold water so that the fruit floats freely in the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and keep at a lively simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring periodically, until the grapefruit is fork-tender. Remove the pot from heat, cover tightly, and let rest overnight at room temperature.
2. For the oranges, juice each half and add the juice to the grapefruit juice. Slice the oranges. Place the orange halves in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Discard the liquid and repeat the boiling and simmering once more. After draining, cover the orange slices with one inch of cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and keep at a lively simmer for 1-2 hours, until the oranges are fork-tender. Remove the pot from heat, cover tightly, and let rest overnight at room temperature.
3. For the lemons, slice each lemon thickly. Place the lemon slices in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Drain and discard the liquid. Return the lemon slices to the pot and cover with one inch of cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and keep at a lively simmer for 30 - 40 minutes, until the lemons are fork-tender. Remove the pot from heat, cover tightly, and let rest overnight at room temperature.
Day 2: Marmalade
1. Place a few spoons on a plate in the freezer. Place clean jars and lids on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.
2. Strain the grapefruit halves from the liquid, reserving the liquid. Over a bowl, scoop the insides out of each grapefruit, scraping to remove excess pith around the insides. Strain the flesh and pith, reserving the juices and adding them back into rest of the cooking liquid. Discard the remaining solids. Cut the grapefruit into thick slices.
3. In a large bowl, mix to combine the grapefruit, oranges, lemons and their cooking juices with the sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and reserved grapefruit and orange juices. Transfer the mixture to a 11- to 12-quart pot with a wide mouth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook at a rapid boil for at least 25 minutes. Do not stir until the mixture starts foaming. Then stir slowly to prevent burning. Test for doneness once the marmalade starts to darken slightly.
4. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the stove. Retrieve a spoon from the freezer and scoop a small amount of liquid. Return the spoon and sample of jam to the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, hold the spoon vertically. If the marmalade does not run off the spoon and is thickened to a jelly consistency, the marmalade is done. If not, return the pan to the stove and continue to cook for a few minutes more before testing again.
5. Jar the jams in the sterile containers. Return the jars to the oven for 15 minutes, then remove and let cool, being careful not to disturb the jars during this time. The jars should seal while cooling.
Almond and Citrus Marmalade Crostata
makes one 6 or 7-inch crostata
very loosely adapted from Maggie Barrett for the NY Times
1 3/4 cups (245 gr) AP flour
1 cup (100 gr) slivered almonds
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
2 tspn baking powder
9 Tbspn butter, cold and in chunks
1 egg yolk
1 tspn almond extract
zest of 1 lemon
marmalade (~ 1 1/4 cups), recipe above
1. Combine the flour, almonds, sugar, and baking powder in a food processor. Process until the almonds are finely ground.
2. Cut the butter into the almond mixture using a pastry cutter or the food processor until the size of small peas.
3. Add the egg, egg yolk, almond extract, and lemon zest. Process just until a dough begins to form.
4. Remove the pastry dough from the food processor, form it into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill for at least 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the tart pan.
6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into thirds. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The bottom should be slightly thicker than the edge crusts. Fill the tart with a thin layer of marmalade. Roll out the remaining dough to about 1/8-inch thick and cut into strips. Lay the strips in a lattice on top of the marmalade.
7. Brush the top of the crostata with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
8. Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes, until the crust begins to turn golden brown. Do not let it darken too much. Remove from the oven and let cool until room temperature before cutting.