Friday, 12 January 2007

Chocolate oranges

I have been meaning to make these all Christmas, but exams got the better of me. I had been planning on a selection of chocolate oranges, chocolate gingers, apricots stuffed with marzipan and caramelised hazelnuts. So when I found seville oranges I decided better late than never. The skins were firm and beautifully coloured, and the scent brings back christmas. Sevilles are usually used for marmalade, and I was tempted by that route but I'm not a big marmalade fan, and we still have a fairly large stock of jars from last year. Chocolate oranges seemed what was required to stave of that dull january feeling, even if they aren't so good from a New Year's Resolution point of view. The thick skins of the sevilles make them much easier to peel, although personally I like to remove some of the pith with a sharp knife to take away the bitter taste it sometimes has.
The tangy orange together with the richness of the dark chocolate is perfect after dinner with coffee.


Seville oranges
400 ml water
400g sugar
200g good quality chocolate

Score the oranges into quarters and remove the peel. If the pith is very thick remove some of it with a sharp knife, leaving just a little white, and the orange skin intact. Cut the quarters of peel into slices about 1/3 of a cm thick. You can make them neat by chopping of the tops if you wish, but I prefer them a little rough the edges. Then add to a pan of boiling water and boil for three minutes, then drain, in order to remove the bitterness of the pith. This step should be repeated three times. It may seem enough to put you off a recipe, but if you keep the kettle on the boil, and keep refilling, its the work of moments.

Then bring the measured water to the boil, with the sugar, and add the blanched orange skins. Leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes, and then lift out and drain on a wire rack overnight.

The next day melt the chocolate over a bain marie ( a bowl suspended over a pan of water) and then dip the peel in and place on a sheet of foil or silicone to cool. You can double dip them the next day with an alternate kind of chocolate if you wish: try half dipping them in dark chocolate one day, and milk or white chocolate the next.

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