Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Clementines in Syrup
Let me tell you a tale of stupidity, hubris, exhaustion, redemption and success. Let me tell you about my clementines in syrup.
It all began with a plan. Not a good plan, but a plan nonetheless.
I had a good deed to repay. My friend mentioned something about cutting down on baked goods. I wasn’t thwarted. I am much more than a creamed sugar and fancy meringues. What that was remained to be seen.
My most brilliant ideas seem to form in locations where I can’t readily write anything down—when driving the car, in the shower, and on the cusp of sleep. This experience has made me rethink the brilliance of these fleeting ideas.
So back to that unfortunate plan. I had a bag of clementines and a slow cooker. And, my late-night brain was convinced that two were destined for a naughty meet up. Homey in a hip homemaker rather than hodge podge lodge, clementines in syrup were clearly perfection.
A quick search found a recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. The woman was on Martha, so no problem there. I am going to plead exhaustion. After all I haven’t had a full night’s since the Bush Administration. I decided not to read the Vegan Yum Yum recipe. Apparently Martha’s staffers might have seen brilliance there but I was too proud to read the recipe.
Instead, I did my own thing. Yes, I did get “doesn’t follow direction well” on my report cards every marking period. I got out the trusty slow cooker. Put in 3 cups hot water, 3 cups white sugar, ¾ cup brown sugar, 12 pink peppercorns, 6 Sichuan peppercorns, 4 cardamom pods, 4 stars of anise, 4 cloves, a cinnamon stick and my faith; turned the puppy on; and walked away.
It was then that I sat down to read the recipe. Backwards am I. Clearly. There is when I saw my mistake. I went back to the cooker to see the clementines. They bobbed happily in the spicy dark liquid to taunt me. Obviously, the slowcooker would never get hot enough to create a syrup from the sugar and water.
At this point, there were two hungry kids, a senile dog, and a husband under foot grabbing at things. So, with the full force of my frustration, I repeated stabbed the little buggers (the citrus fruit, I mean) with a skewer, as Vegan Yum Yum instructed. And, I left the concoction in the slowcooker.
Finally, as the calm of naptime fell upon the house, I went back to see what had become of my ill-fated fruit. The once jaunty fruit seemed soggy, deflated, even defeated. I poured the oranges and the liquid into a pot only to find all of the sugar congealed into one solid mass. I should have save the sugar. But after chiseling and coaxing that cake out of my slowcooker, I felt wronged by the sweetener and there was nothing it was going to do to win me back. It promptly went into the trash.
At which point, rather than partake in the restorative nap that my children were enjoying, I began the project again. Those oranges went into the freezer (and might become gelato.) New oranges were punctured and set aside. To the original liquid, new sugar was added, and then the mixture was heated on a stovetop and once gloriously redolent and viscous the syrup was placed back into the slowcooker. The next morning, choirs sang (itsy bitsy spider, mind you) and clementines in syrup were had.
Spiced Clementines in Sugar Syrup
Based though not as closely as I should have on Vegan Yum Yum
Heat until the sugar dissolves (do not boil)
3 cups hot water,
3 cups white sugar,
¾ cup brown sugar,
6 Sichuan peppers,
4 cardamom pods,
4 stars of anise,
a cinnamon stick
Carefully, put the liquid into a slowcooker, add 10 clementines that have been punctured with a skewer. Weigh down with a plate (the edges of the plate should not touch the edge of the slowcooker.)
Cook on low for 8 hrs.
Labels: Meal Course: Dessert