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Monday 9 December 2013

Gluten Free: Candied Clementines

Few fruits shout “CHRISTMAS” like clementines do. Actually, they’re a bit more subtle than that, aren’t they? They’re more likely to sneak up beside you and quietly sing a Christmas carol into your ear. If you’re planning to do a bit of baking over the festive season, chances are you’ll use a clementine or two. There’s just something about the sweet, gently perfumed flavour of the clementine that’s guaranteed to make you think you’re hearing sleigh bells in the distance.

Candied Clementines are possibly my favourite way to garnish a Christmas cake. The syrup soaks into the sponge, adding moisture and flavour, while those bright, shiny slices or citrus give the whole thing a brilliant appearance. Give a jar of candied clementines to your favourite home baker this Christmas and you’ll be kept in cakes and muffins for all of 2014. For a slightly different way to present them, dry the slices in the oven and pop them in cellophane bags for a delicious treat that’ll probably be gobbled up before they ever see a mixing bowl.

Candied Clementines (makes 2 8oz/227g jars or loads of slices)
You’ll need:
  • 600g clementines
  • 500g sugar (I like golden granulated sugar, it lends a lovely caramel flavour to the syrup)
  • 300ml water
  • 1tbsp liquid glucose
Make it!
  1. Remove the ends of each clementine and slice them fairly thinly. ¼ cm thick is about right, but don’t fret too much about it - thicker slices will just need to simmer for longer.
  2. Put the sugar and water into a large saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the syrup to a simmer.
  3. Add the liquid glucose and stir gently to dissolve.
  4. Add the clementine slices and bring the mixture back to a gentle simmer.
  5. Leave to simmer for about 2 hours, until the clementine peel is tender. Don’t let it boil or you’ll end up with caramelised clementines!
  6. When the clementines are tender either: 
  7. Spoon into sterilised jars. OR  Drain* the clementine slices and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Put your oven on its lowest setting (mine was at 80°C) and leave the slices in there to dry out for a couple of hours.

*Save the syrup, though, it’s now deliciously citrusy. I make mulling syrup with mine. Just add a cinnamon stick, two cloves, 3 cardamon pods, a star anise, an Indonesian long peppercorn and 200ml apple juice and leave to simmer until it’s reduced by half. Strain and decant into a bottle.

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