Blood Orange Marmalade and Crostata

What have you been up to in trying to keep warm during these cold days? With blankets and increased heat coming from my furnace the space around me is warming up. Cooking and baking have been helping as well, but for the first time last week I made my first batch of blood orange marmalade. This was a winner to keep my kitchen warm and get me to work a little differently in the kitchen.
I had made citrus marmalades before but not with blood oranges. Moro oranges which hail from Italy have a reddish tinge to their outer skin and a deep blood red interior hence the name. Many of the blood oranges we get locally are grown in California or some part of the US that is warm enough to grow citrus. The are delicious to eat out of hand and squeezed to make juice but marmalade was what I was after.
I spoke to my good friend and colleague Elizabeth Baird, who is a master preserver, if I may call her that. I explained that I wanted to make blood orange marmalade and of course she had a tried and true recipe for me to get started. 
I admit I wasn’t ready for what was ahead of me, washing, slicing, pulling, stirring and well tasting of course in the end! 
I was holding a workshop on the weekend at Old Fort York in Toronto for the Mad for Marmalade, Crazy for Citrus event that had a focus on the Italian culture. So I was going to show the group in my workshop how to make a crostata and use the blood orange marmalade as my filling.
Making marmalade would be a fun thing to do with a friend or family member. This recipe makes enough for 13-1 cup (250 mL) jars so enough to share or if you’re interested in a little competition, you could enter your preserve into the contest next year at the event or try your hand at a bigger venue like the Royal Winter Fair, just something to think about during these cold days and nights. 
Was it worth it making my own blood orange marmalade? Yes indeed it was! The flavour is outstanding and something I enjoyed in the crostata but also perfect on a fresh piece of toasted crusty bread. I knew it was really worth it when during the workshop, people were licking the jars with their fingers after using the marmalade in their crostatas! That made my heart skip a beat and put a smile on my face, a perfect way to warm me up.
Moro Orange and Lemon Marmalade
Moro oranges are vivid red-fleshed oranges, also known as blood orange. They are tarter than navel oranges, and while delightful eaten out of hand, and puckery in salads, they make a fine preserve.
Makes about 13 (1 cup /250 ml) jars.

3 lb (1.5 kg) Moro oranges (about 8 large)
2 large lemons
12 cups (3 L) water 
12 cups (3 L) granulated sugar 
1/4 cup (60 ml) Campari (optional)

Cut 10-inch (25 cm) square of double thickness cheesecloth; set aside.

Scrub oranges and lemons in warm sudsy water; rinse. Cut out blossom ends and any blemishes. Cut oranges and lemons in half; squeeze out juice, dislodging any seeds. Strain juice through sieve into large saucepan, reserving any seeds and pulp. Pull out membranes from oranges and lemon halves. Place seeds and membranes in centre of prepared cheesecloth. Bring up sides loosely but completely enclosing the contents and tie top with string. Add to saucepan.

Cut orange and lemon halves into quarters, then cut crosswise into paper-thin strips; add to juice with water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer very gently, periodically pressing seed bag to release pectin, until peel turns to mush when pressed between fingers, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove bag and let cool; firmly squeeze juice back into pan. Mixture should measure 12 cups (3 L); if not, add water to make up difference or boil until reduced to this amount.

Working in 2 batches; for each batch, measure 6 cups (1.5 L) each of the sugar and fruit mixture into large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir well; bring to full rolling boil, stirring. Boil vigorously, stirring constantly, until the marmalade clears, has thickened and reached its setting point, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in half of the Campari, if using. (I didn’t use the Campari and it was still very tasty)

Pour into prepared preserving jars, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) headspace. Seal with prepared discs and bands. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Uncover; let boiling subside. Remove jars to cool on rack.

Look for tips on setting point of marmalade and preserving jars at

Crostata di Marmellata (Jam Tart)
You can use your favourite type of jam or marmalade to fill this tart. Best is to use a chunky homemade jam with lots of fruit for a great fruit flavour. The crust softens as it sits but it just gets richer in flavour.
Makes 12 servings.

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
2 1/4 cups (560 mL) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (80 mL) toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) fruit jam or marmalade (homemade if possible)
Icing sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, hazelnuts, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir to form dough. Divide dough into two-thirds for the bottom crust and one-third for the top crust. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 1 day.
On a floured surface roll out a larger disk of dough to fit an 11-inch (28 cm) tart tin with a removable bottom. Spread jam into crust. 

Roll out remaining dough and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick strips. Weave strips to create a latticed top. Pinch ends together and trim to fit the pan. Bake in preheated 350 F (180 C) oven for about 40 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbly.

Let cool before sprinkling with icing sugar to serve.

Tip: The jam will look like it doesn’t fill the tart but as it bakes it will rise beautifully and look amazing!


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