I don’t like orange marmalade. Apparently my fingers dislike it too because I continue to misspell ‘marmalade’ in this entry, and I’ve had to correct every spelling of it thus far. My aversion to marmalade started with one really bad experience, discussed further below, and a second ‘sour-face’ taste a few months ago has proved that nothing has changed.
So, when this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, Orange Tian, was announced, I was initially apprehensive, but the food lover in me persevered. Well, sort of.
The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.
So, the reason I’m ranting about orange marmalade is because it’s a component of Orange Tian, and we have to make it from scratch.
When it comes to orange marmalade, I always felt it was worth one more try, kind of like cilantro. I hated cilantro the first few times I tried it (soapy), and now I can’t get enough of the stuff. But with marmalade, it’s the pith, and that’s where I put my foot down because the pith is what makes it so damn bitter. I don’t care how many times you boil and blanch the orange slices when making orange marmalade, it’s still bitter (to me, anyway). Many like marmalade, and with good reason, but my palate simply rebels against it.
The truth is, I don’t like anything jammed, jellied/gelled that’s orange, even orange pates de fruit, orange jelly slices, and/or anything that congeals with orange in it. I think it’s some strange, genetic malfunction since I love all other fruits (well, not grapefruit either, but I think it applies to all citrus fruits in general) in jelly or jam form, just not orange.
Let me clarify; I do like the flavor of orange in some desserts, just not slices or chunks of orange outside of a fruit salad or a peeled, fresh orange eaten out of hand.
Now that I started this entry off on a bright, cheery note (sarcasm alert), I’ll explain the beginning of my aversion to orange marmalade, and I’ll try to make this as quick as possible.
City girl (me) moves to the suburbs with her family when she’s 9. Her life-long city Dad decides to buy a lawn mower and mow his first lawn. Unfamiliar with said lawn mower, he sticks his hand in running lawn mower when something jams.
Former city girl (me) is sitting on the porch around the corner at a new friend’s house. City mom and dad come speeding around the corner and stop short, telling me to tell my new friend’s father to watch over me and my sister until they get home. Cool, I get to hang out with my friend and have lunch there, although I’m a leeeeettle concerned about the bloody towel wrapped around my father’s hand.
Alright, I’m already pushing the envelope here, so I’ll get to the point. ‘I digress’ should be tattooed onto my forehead.
So, new friend’s father makes me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but he makes it with crunchy peanut butter, which I don’t like, but no big deal, it’s still peanut butter; I can grind down the chopped peanut pieces with my teeth. What came next almost made me spit it out onto the plate. The jelly in the sandwich tasted like ‘poison’. Bitter to me as a kid was something I always described as tasting like poison. One more bite and I knew I was going to have to bail immediately.
The jelly was orange marmalade.
Peanut butter and orange marmalade?? This was peanut BITTER and jelly, and for a 9-year-old kid, no less? I felt so bad because he was a really nice man, and that’s what they liked on their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Unfortunately, my palate just wasn’t up to that level yet, and sadly, it was never going to get there.
By the way, Dad was okay, just a few stitches to set his fingertip back in place (it was hanging by a thread, so he lucked out that they were able to save it), although the nerves are now reversed. Touch the left side of his left pointer finger, and he feels it on the right side, and vice versa.
On to the challenge.
Initially, I was going to nix the orange completely and just go with a strawberry-kiwi tian since I made a strawberry-kiwi jam (this was my first time making homemade jams and jellies, and boy did I go nuts. Canning is fun!), but after letting the idea marinate a while, plus the fact that a cardinal rule in Daring Bakers is to execute the challenge to the host’s requirements before running off the beaten path, I dove into orange marmalade land. I used blood and regular oranges in both the tian and marmalade, but as the title to this post says, I cut and scraped off all the pith and just used the zest, flesh and juice.
I have to admit, the marmalade caramelized nicely, and it tasted a hell of a lot better than marmalade with pith, but I liked it better warm than cooled and fully set, so I guess I’m still not a fan of orange marmalade.
Oh well, I tried.
So, as mentioned above, I ended up making both an orange tian and a strawberry-kiwi tian. However, you can call them both, especially the strawberry kiwi tian, tian on steroids, because I decided to add a little extra texture and flavor by inserting a disk of chocolate feuilletine beneath the oranges in the orange tian, and a white chocolate feuilletine disk between the stabilized whipped cream and pastry cream in the strawberry kiwi tian. To clarify, a dark chocolate almond praline feullitine disk underneath the supremed oranges for the orange tian, and a white chocolate macadamia praline feuillitine disk beneath the pastry cream underneath the slices of strawberry and kiwi. for the strawberry kiwi tian.
From now on, the feuilletine is not going to be placed beneath the fruit (notice that the feuilletine between the pastry and whipped cream in the strawberry-kiwi tian stays flat and solid, which is a good thing) because fruit on top of chocolate, well, orange supremes on top of chocolate, results in a drippy, sloppy mess after it sits a bit. My beautifully arranged topping of orange supremes started falling off the tian and oozing like it was zombie kibble. I had to try and fit them back together like a wet, slimy puzzle, ending up with a lumpy, bumpy messy tian, which you can see in the photos of the orange tian.
It still tasted good, though.
To continue..I folded fresh strawberry puree into the soon to be stabilized whipped cream for the strawberry kiwi tian, and fresh vanilla bean into the whipped cream for the orange tian. To make the strawberry-kiwi tian even more lard inducing, I added a layer of strawberry kiwi pastry cream underneath the fruit (just strawberry and kiwi puree, strained and reduced to a syrup, then folded/whisked into pastry cream).
Speaking of orange supremes; I cannot supreme (segment between the membranes) an orange to save my life. It doesn’t matter how sharp the knife is; it’s a technique I simply cannot master. I never end up with perfect, pith-free half moons of orange, just ripped, pithy, sticky, jagged pieces of “I don’t what the eff that is”. Regardless, when you set horribly cut supremes of orange upside down and flat in the freezer, it miraculously looks as if you are the supreme master of supremes, IF you don’t slip a disk of chocolate underneath it.
Orange Tian Recipe
All in all, I really enjoyed this challenge. Thank you, Jen! To see all the beautiful tian creations by my fellow Daring Bakers, click on the links to their blogs HERE. For the master recipe for Orange Tian, click HERE.
Strawberry Kiwi Jam
Makes 4 half pint jars
1 cup peeled and chopped kiwi, crushed or pureed
1 cup hulled, chopped strawberries, crushed or pureed
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup lime juice
1 (1 3/4 ounce) package no sugar needed or light fruit pectin
2 cups sugar
1. Prepare boiling water canner. Wash and heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2. Combine kiwi, strawberries, orange juice and lime juice in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar and return to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if necessary.
3. Carefully ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply screw band until fit is tight.
4. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. If not using immediately or giving as gifts, store jars in a cool. dark place for up to one year. Makes about 4 half pint jars.
Adapted from Flore from Florilege Gourmand.
3.5 oz (100g) milk or dark chocolate*
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline (or bring 1/2 cup of sugar to an amber caramel and spread it on 1/2 cup almonds* and grind until fine)
2.1oz (60g) paillette feuilletine or rice krispies or crushed corn flakes
1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate. Spread on a parchment or silpat lined pan and chill until firm.
2. Cut into desired shapes to fit cookie cutter or molds. Refrigerate until ready to use.
*For the strawberry kiwi tian, replace the milk chocolate and almonds with white chocolate and macadamia nuts.