three citrus marmalade (and reasons to be grateful)

When the house next door (which has been vacant for a year) goes up in flames in the wee hours of the morning, it’s pretty scary.  When your own kitchen fills with smoke because flames are bursting from the kitchen windows next door, it’s really scary. Like round-up-the-pets-and-pack-up-your-valuables scary. Like pray-to-all-higher-powers-that-an-ember-does-not-jump-onto-your-roof scary. I’ve never in my life felt my heart pound so hard inside my chest. I can still feel an echo of that pounding.

And I am extremely grateful. I am grateful for the roof over my head. More now than ever in my life. I am grateful that I am constantly surrounded by family and friends. I am grateful for my cats and my dog, who make me smile and feel safe when I sleep at night. I am grateful for my life. I am grateful to be here.

On a much lighter brighter note, I’m grateful for all the babies who are making their way into this world. And for the lovely little fella who arrived just the other day, belonging to my cousin and her hubby. Congrats, ladies and gents!

I’m also grateful for this marmalade, which for a couple of hours helped to take my mind off all the craziness that has been swirling around the past few days. Marmalade always reminds me of Paddington Bear, who I believe would have approved of this gem. It’s a three citrus marmalade made of blood orange, pink grapefruit, and Meyer lemon, a sort of citrus trifecta if I do say so myself. This is everything I was dreaming of when this marmalade mission began – it has a very pronounced citrus flavor, a nice sticky consistency, and is just a tiny bit bitter. Plus, it’s absolutely gorgeous. You’ll be grateful to have it to put on your toast in the morning.

three citrus marmalade

adapted from Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone

makes 4 or 5 half-pints

4 organic blood oranges *

2 organic Meyer lemons *

1 organic pink grapefruit *

5 cups sugar **

1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

*Feel free to change the ratio of citrus to your liking.

** The amount of sugar used is dependent on the amount of pulp your fruit yields.

Peel the skin from the blood oranges with a pairing knife. Cut the rinds into matchstick-size pieces. Place peels in a large pot and cover with 4 cups o water. Set aside.

Grate the zest from the grapefruit and lemons and add to the pot with the orange peels. Cook over medium heat until the rinds are tender, about 25 minutes. Do not drain.

Meanwhile, remove any excess pith from the reserved fruit. Cut the fruit in half along the equator and remove seeds with a pairing knife. Over a medium bowl, separate the sections of the fruit and squeeze the juice from the pulp. You can also use kitchen shears to assist with this process. Alternately, you can place all of the fruit into the bowl of a food processor and grind to a chunky pulp.

Measure the pulp and then add to the pot of cooled rinds. Let the mixture rest for 2 hours, covered in a cool place or the refrigerator.

Add an equal amount of sugar to the pulp and rinds. Add the butter. Cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. When the temperature reaches 220°F on a candy thermometer, the marmalade is ready.

While your marmalade is cooking, fill your canner with a rack and bring water to a boil. Sterilize 4 or 5 half-pint jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the jars with tongs. Simmer the lids in a small lot of of hot water.

When the jars are dry but still hot, pour in the marmalade, leaving 1/2 to 3/4- inch of headspace at the top of each jar.  Wipe the rims, set on the lids, and screw on the bands to fingertip tight.

Place the jars in the canner. Make sure there is at least 3-inches of water above the jars. Boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Turn of the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner . Allow the jars to sit, undisturbed, for 4 to 6 hours. You will hear a popping noise as the vacuum is created in the jars. Store in a cool, dark place or up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.

meyer lemon cream tart

My love for all things lemon dates back to when my Grandma was the chief baker in the family. Almost every get together ended with one of her fantastic cakes or pies, my all-time favorite being her lemon pie, which was topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream rather than meringue. Though she has since stepped down from her baking post, I still fantasize about Grandma’s lemon pie and have never really cared for any of the other lemon pies I’ve tried over the years. That is, until I discovered Tartine.

If you live in or near San Francisco, you’ve likely been to Tartine Bakery and have fallen in love. What’s not to love about their buttery croissants (especially the ham and cheese), selection of quiches and their to die for pastries? Naturally, one of my favorites is their lemon cream tart, which manages to be silky and decadent but not at all overwhelming. It is perfection.

I added the Tartine cookbook to my collection a few months back and have had the lemon cream tart bookmarked, waiting for an excuse to recreate it in my own kitchen. This past weekend I was finally presented with that opportunity and had planned to make the tart for a holiday party hosted by my dear friend/favorite hairstylist. But alas, things went awry in the kitchen that day (two crusts destroyed!) and I was forced to leave my dessert behind. Being that I had already prepared the lemon cream filling, I resumed my crust making the following day and was victorious. The tart was just as it is at the bakery… c’est magnifique!

meyer lemon cream tart

makes one 9 inch tart

adapted from Tartine

Pâte Sablée (sweet tart dough)

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 large egg, room temperature

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

Combine the sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with paddle attachment and beat until smooth.  Add the egg and mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten each into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least two hours before use.

Lemon Cream

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice (any fresh lemon juice will suffice)

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cool and cut into 1 tablespoon pieces

In a non-reactive bowl combine the lemon juice, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture becomes very thick and pale and registers 180°F on a thermometer. Remove from heat and let cool to 140°F. Using an immersion blender or countertop blender, add the butter one piece at a time and blend until each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next.

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons sugar

candied lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut out a circle that is 2 inches larger than your pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and gently press into place. Be careful not to stretch the dough or it will shrink while baking. Trim the excess dough with a sharp knife or scissors and place pastry shell in the refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes. Dock the bottom of the tart shell with a fork and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 12-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

When tart shell is completely cooled, pour lemon cream into shell and shake gently to smooth the filling. Chill before serving, about two hours or until cream is firm.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream until thick. Add the sugar until soft peaks form. Top the tart with whipped cream and garnish with candied lemon zest.  Serve chilled.

Tart dough mishaps… to avoid this do not stretch dough when forming tart. And don’t attempt to use pie weights without first lining your tart with foil or parchment paper. woops!