At this time of year the Cotswolds seems quieter than usual. Not because the tourists are nestled snug in their beds, but because the Venerable Mothers of the Wolds are slaving over their Agas making vats of marmalade to lay down for generations to come.
The benefits of this pleasing hush amongst Mothers are numerous, however today I have one particular benefit in mind: the shelf packed with marmalade gifted by Mother, Mother-in-Law, friends who are Mothers etc. The pantry is so burdened the weight of Kilner jars that they threaten to rip it from the wall.
I’ll admit that a marmalade glut is slightly bending the rules of g&g, but it is the season for Seville oranges (December – February) and there is certainly a glut of marmalade as a result, so for the sake of my larder I ask you to forgive the diversion.
The obvious use for seville marmalade is on toast. I especially like it on sourdough which, with it’s slight tang, beautifully complements that bittersweet tartness so unique to seville oranges. However, even a thick spreading isn’t going to use sufficient quantities to keep my larder on the wall, so recipes calling for large volumes of marmalade are needed.
Jamie Oliver’s Guinness Lamb Shank uses 3 heaped tbsp, but I up it to 4 without consequence. It’s a corker of a recipe and he’s right in his warning to skip the mint oil and spring onions at your peril – it really finished the dish.
This month’s Waitrose Kitchen has cake recipe that uses…. wait for it…. 6 tbsp of marmalade. That’s practically a whole jar! My larder may yet survive even if my figure won’t. I’ve doctored it slightly and given you 3 options: the first, a loaf cake (like lemon drizzle) and ideal for afternoon teas; the second, an unctuous tarting-up of the same basic cake, more suited as a suppertime pudding; the third, a quick and versatile pud:
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 100ml single cream
- 250g ground almonds
- 125g plain flour
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- zest of 1 orange
- 3 heaped tbsp marmalade
- Orange syrup (juice of 1 orange, 1 tbsp marmalade gently melted together
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Grease a loaf tin and line the bottom.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes in a freestanding mixer). Then add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is mixed in before adding the next. Add the cream and the almonds and combine.
Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt until just mixed. Then stir through the marmalade and the orange zest until smooth.
Pour into the loaf tin and cook for approx 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once cool, prick the top of the loaf several times with a cocktail stick and drizzle over the orange syrup.
Tarted-up Fancy Version (see photo above):
- 1 portion of cake batter (as above recipe)
- 150g mascarpone
- 125g greek yogurt
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- 2tbsp marmalade
- juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Make the cake batter as above, but pour into 2 x 20cm cake tins (greased and bases lined). Cook for 30-35 minutes then drizzle the syrup as above. Whilst the cake cools (and it needs to be completely cold before you assemble it), make a frosting by beating together the mascarpone, yogurt, icing sugar, marmalade and juice for 5 minutes. If you don’t beat it to within an inch of its life you won’t achieve the foamy, soft-peaks texture.
Sandwich the 2 cakes together with 1/2 the frosting as glue, then use the rest to top the cake and scatter over the orange zest.
Make just the frosting and daub over pretty much anything – Panettone is a personal favourite, but it would also go beautifully with stewed pears or fresh strawberries.