Tag: Oranges

Seville orange marmalade (aka “Henderson marmalade”)

Seville orange marmalade (aka “Henderson marmalade”)

It’s Seville orange season, which means it’s marmalade-making time. I’ve been doing this almost every year for as long as I can remember now, using the recipe passed down through the generations of the family of my late and much loved stepfather, so this is officially “Henderson marmalade”. Or it should possibly be “WSF marmalade”, since John would sign his cards to my brothers and me as “WSF” (for “wicked step father”, which was the polar opposite of reality).

This isn’t precisely the recipe handed down to me, for two reasons: firstly, the original recipe had some tweaking of quantities as you go, which adds washing up and which I don’t think is necessary, and secondly for the more prosaic reason that this is in metric and the numbers have been tweaked for my current kitchen equipment. But the results are pretty faithful to the original.

By the way, it’s worth hunting around for good Seville oranges. I’ve made this with standard supermarket ones for years, but for the last two, I’ve been getting them from our local greengrocer and they’re stunning.

This is sized to just about the maximum that will fit into my preserving pan, which is a 9 litre maslin pan from Lakeland (or 8.5l, depending on which bit of their blurb you read). It only just fits, so you might want to be a fraction more conservative with the amount of water, or go for a larger pan.

  • 2 kg Seville oranges
  • 6 litres water
  • 4 kg granulated sugar
  1. Line a bowl with a muslin or J cloth.
  2. Peel the oranges with your fingers; slice the peel into very thin strips and put it into the preserving pan.
  3. Coarsely chop the oranges. Put the pips and any particularly large bits of pith into the bowl. Put the flesh and any juice into the preserving pan.
  4. Tie up the muslin with string, making a bundle of the pips and pith. Put it into the preserving pan also, along with any juice left in the bowl.
  5. Add the water, mix, and leave for around 12 hours (I usually do this overnight).
  6. Now bring the mixture to the boil, uncovered, and leave to simmer for around 60-90 minutes. At the end of this, you should be able to cut the peel easily with a wooden spoon.
  7. Leave the mixture for another 8 hours, or longer if you like: there’s no harm in leaving it to the following day.
  8. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, again uncovered. If your mixture is in danger of overflowing the pan (this often happens to me), you may want to take a batch out into a separate saucepan, adding it back when the level has gone down enough that it will fit.
  9. Sterilise your jars. I do this by putting the jars themselves into a 90℃ oven for an hour or so and the lids into boiling water with a Milton table. But there are other methods: use your favourite.
  10. Keep boiling until the mixture reaches between 105℃ and 106℃, which is likely to take at least four hours. Make sure that your mixture is well stirred, because if you don’t, you can get a considerable temperature gradient. And be patient: the last couple of degrees take forever. 105℃ will give you a fairly runny marmalade; 106℃ is a stiffer set. Only go hotter if you’re paranoid, or if you like your marmalade dark and bitter, which some people do.
  11. There are various other setting tests involving pouring a teaspoon of mixture onto a cold plate and seeing if it forms a skin when you draw your finger across it, but honestly: going by temperature works fine.
  12. Remove the muslin with the pips and pith, and pour the marmalade into jars. For a belt-and-braces on sterilising the lids, turn the jars upside down while they’re cooling: the hot marmalade will make absolutely sure the lids are sterile. It definitely works: I did this for years without bothering with the Milton tablet and never had a problem.

Enjoy this critical component of a perfect breakfast. Even though London is packed with high end grocery shops, there’s nothing quite like the home made stuff: I warmly commend it to you.

Around the world in 80 bakes, no.60: Khobzet borgden – Tunisian orange cake

Around the world in 80 bakes, no.60: Khobzet borgden – Tunisian orange cake

Tunisia grows a lot of oranges. Over 550,000 tonnes, according to The Guardian, in what was admittedly a freak year – apparently, 200-400,000 is more normal. Anyway, you have to do something with all that fruit, and one of things the Tunisians do is to make orange cake – or “Khobzet borgden”, as it’s called in Arabic.

If you look up English language recipes for Tunisian Orange Cake, you tend to get something different, often involving stale breadcrumbs and a lot of ground almonds. These are also very good – my wife has been making her mother’s orange almond cake recipe for years and it’s a winner – but I can’t find any evidence that they’re authentically Tunisian: the closest I got was a recipe where the cake was decorated with flaked almonds.

So I’ve gone for one of the many recipes for Khobzet borgden on Tunisian websites, generally in French. Variations include choice of fat (butter / olive oil / vegetable oil) and how to treat your oranges: the most extreme one I’ve seen involved blitzing whole oranges – skin, pips and all – and adding the resulting purée to your cake mix. Just about all the recipes involve drizzling your finished cake with an orange syrup. I’ve started with one from tunisienumerique.com (translation: digital Tunisia), which uses oil (I chose olive – it doesn’t specify) and lots of orange zest as well as decorating the top of the cake with slices of orange.

A couple of notes on my adaptation: (1) the suggested baking time of 20-25 minutes wasn’t even close. Either their oven or their baking tin is very different from mine. (2) my cake domed hugely in the middle. The original recipe specifies one sachet of baking powder, and I have no idea how much you get in a Tunisian baking powder sachet. So I went with around 12g, which may have been a bit excessive.

  • 300g plain flour
  • 12g baking powder
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 100g olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 180℃ fan.
  2. Grease with butter a 20cm springform tin (or other cake tin of similar size).
  3. Sift your flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  4. Zest at least two of the oranges (all three if you really want a bitter orange flavour).
  5. Slice one of the zested oranges into rounds (I needed five rounds to fit onto my 20cm springform tin). Squeeze the juice out of the rest of this orange and the other two: you should get around 200ml. If the yield is substantially less, you might want to add some orange juice from elsewhere (or from a fourth orange if you have one).
  6. Put the eggs and 100g of granulated sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix at high speed until well blended.
  7. Add the orange zest and 100g of the orange juice and mix until well blended.
  8. Add the oil and mix until well blended.
  9. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  10. Pour the batter into your tin. Arrange the orange slices over the top, pressing each slightly in so that it’s level with the batter.
  11. Put your tin into the oven and bake for around 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  12. Meanwhile, make a syrup: put your remaining 50g of sugar and 100ml (approximately) of orange juice into a saucepan, bring to the boil, stirring frequently.
  13.  Cook until the syrup is thick (if you’re using a sugar thermometer, aim for around 105℃).
  14. When the cake is done, leave it to cool for a couple of minutes, then drizzle the syrup you should try to get the rest absorbed into the cake.
  15. Take off the outside of the springform tin and then cool the cake on a rack.

Tunisians would accompany this with black coffee. Personally, I’d go for both black coffee and a scoop of pistachio ice cream. But the choice is yours…