Saturday, April 18, 2015

Orange Marmalade from scratch....and what I learned

My husband loves all things tart, bitter, and peppery.  Tart is a flavor I know I'll win his approval no matter what it is, so when I decided to try MY hand at orange marmalade, HE couldn't wait to get started!

Notice the broken jar...I hate when that happens.  Basically what causes the jar to crack in the canning process is too much room to move around in....make sure your jars are snug, so that they can't move around and break in the canning process....what a mess!!

Anyway, the big lesson I learned after this process is for next time, chop the oranges up into smaller pieces so they are easier to spread on toast, crackers, and bagels.   As it is now, each jar has to be dumped and chopped or he just chops up the jar as he eats the marmalade.

Here's the recipe:  this is from Ina Garten's recipe from

4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar

Step 1
Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices.  Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

Step 2
The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes.  Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you want to be doubly sure it's ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it's cool but not cold. If it's firm -- neither runny nor too hard -- it's done. It will be a golden orange color. (If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it's too hard, add more water.)

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year.

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Angel Food Cake

Room temperature eggs
There are two special occasions that I make this amazingly luscious cake;  Easter Sunday and my husband's birthday.  I actually think if I made it more often, no one would complain! 

Some people find this cake to be a challenge too great to take on, but alas, I am here to tell you that with only a few different techniques strange to your normal everyday cake, anyone can be successful with their very own Angel Food cake.  Seriously!

 The first thing that everyone should know by now, is that your eggs need to be room temperature for best results. Hence my bowl of eggs at the top of the post.

The hardest part of this cake, in my opinion, is the separation of the 12 eggs, one slip of yoke in the whites and you will not get fluffy meringue for the batter. 

While the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and flavorings are beating, AND before adding the sugar, sift the 1 cup of cake flour (1 cup all purpose minus 2 Tbsp) and 1 1/4 cup of confectioner sugar together a couple of times. Now with most flours packaged already sifted, most recipes can skip this step, but not angel food cake!

After the meringue starts to thicken up and form soft peaks, begin adding the sugar slowly for complete incorporation.

When the meringue forms stiff peaks, it's ready for have the flour/sugar mixture folded in.  Take 1/4 cup of the flour mixture at a time and fold slowly into the meringue until there is no sign of flour in the batter.
This step is a bit tedious with the amount batter, but persevere you must!

Now, once all the flour in completely incorporated, you are ready to get the pan ready.

Remove the pan from the cupboard and place it on the counter.  STOP,  that's all you do!!

 Pour the batter in the UN-greased evenly and run a sharp knife through the batter to make sure all the air bubbles are out.  See the picture on the right, here.

Bake the cake in a 375 degree oven for 30 - 35 minutes depending on your oven.  The cake will crinkle on the top and turn nicely golden brown and when you touch it, it will feel soft, but not indent.

Now is a weird thing that you do for all angel food cakes, you set it upside down on the you notice on an angel food cake pan these leg-like things on the side?   Well these are the legs that will balance the pan on the counter while the cake cools.  Weird, eh?

Now when the cake pan on the outside is cooled, the cake is ready to be plated.  Run a sharp knife around the outer edge of the cake and around the center tube of the pan.  Then push from the bottom of the pan to release the cake from the pan and run the knife around the bottom part of the pan for release it from the bottom/tube part.  For best results,place the cake plate over the cake and flip it over onto the cake plate so that the bottom of the cake becomes the top and will look like this!!   Very pretty and almost perfect in shape.   Hope that wasn't too confusing!

 The ingredients are as follows:
1 cup of Cake Flour
1-1/4 cup of confectioners sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp  Vanilla
1 tsp Almond extract

Please make this fine confection, you will be amazed at how rewarding it is to master and enjoy an Angel Food Cake on any special occasion!