Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Almond and Grapefruit-Ginger Marmalade Crostata

My first taste of marmalade, likely taken at my Anglophile aunt and uncle's house, was much less sweet than I had expected. Having been enticed by the brilliant color and orange flavor (which was my favorite, although usually in the form of sherbet), I was not expecting the bitter aftertaste that came with them. As an adult though, I have developed much more of an appreciation for bitterness (and probably gotten more so myself), and now have quite an affection for the rind-inclusive preserve.

As I mentioned previously, I made a batch of grapefruit-ginger marmalade when I was home alone with an abundance of grapefruit. I wanted to try something from Pam Corbin's River Cottage Preserves Handbook, and auspiciously found a recipe for Seville orange marmalade with a grapefruit variation.

I added some ginger to the recipe, and canned the marmalade in jars of various sizes. With the help of the internet, I mailed them off to friends with a penchant for bittersweet (as it is quite bitter--be warned), many of whom offered up barters of handmade pottery, gif-filled stories, felted creatures and even an original jingle for Tarts by Tarts!

Despite how tempting it was to giveaway more jars in trade for special surprises, I did manage to save two jars for myself for eating and baking purposes. I was eyeing a few different jam-inclusive pies, including a Bakewell Tart (which I still plan to try made here), but remembered this almond and marmalade crostata I had been eyeing and realized it would be a fortuitous use of my grapefruit marmalade stash. I had wanted to make it for Pi(e) Day, but had a crazy week prior, so didn't find the time necessary to make the marmalade in advance. 

Let that be a warning to you, though. This marmalade requires overnight prep and is at least a 5-hour affair, what with the soaking of the rind (which I actually did overnight), cooking, and processing time (that is, if you plan to can it.) The recipe here will yield you at least 10 12-oz. jars, which is much more than you'd need for the tart, but with those extra jars, you make deals with your friends in exchange for all sorts of goodies. Plus once you've got the 'lade, this crust whips up in a jiffy.

Seville Ginger-Grapefruit Marmalade

Note: This recipe is for approximately 10 12-oz.  jars of marmalade and requires overnight prep and a cook time of four hours, so plan ahead!

2 1/4 pounds grapefruit, ruby red preferred
10 c. water
2/3 c. lemon juice
10 c. sugar 
1-2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely

1. Scrub grapefruit and remove buttons at the top of the fruit and cut in half around the circumference. Squeeze out the juice into a large bowl and set aside. Using a large, sharp knife, slice the peel, pith and all, into very thin slices. Put the sliced peel in a bowl with the grapefruit juice and cover with 10 c. water. Let soak overnight and up to 24 hours.

2. Transfer the entire mixture to a large stock pot or preserving pan and bring to a boil. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat and let simmer slowly, covered, until the peel is tender. This should take about 2 hours, and in that time the mixture should reduce by about one-third.

3. Stir in lemon juice, sugar, and ginger. Bring marmalade to a boil, stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly until the setting point is reached (or until mixture reads 220 degrees F), at least 30 minutes. Remove pot from the heat and let cool for 8-10 minutes. Gently stir to disperse any scum. Pour marmalade into warm, sterilized jars and seal immediately. Use within 2 years.

Almond and Grapefruit-Ginger Marmalade Crostata
Adapted from Desserts for Breakfast

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
9 Tblsp. butter, cold and in chunks
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. almond extract
zest of one lemon (or small orange)
up to 1/4 c. water
1 1/4 c. grapefruit-ginger marmalade (or other marmalade of your choosing)
dash heavy cream (optional)
Turbinado sugar (optional, for dusting)

1. Combine flour, almonds, sugar, and baking powder in a food processor and pulse until almonds are finely ground. Add cold butter chunks to the almond mixture and process until mix is the size of small peas. Add egg, egg yolk, almond extract and lemon zest and pulse just until dough begins to form (NOTE: I found that this dough was quite dry and crumbly, so I ended up adding about 1/4 c. of water to the mixture. I think that if needed, more water could be added, as in the end, the dough was still rather crumbly and difficult to work with, but it tasted great and not too dry.) Remove pastry dough from the food processor and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour and up to 1 day.

2. After at least one hour, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Remove the dough from the fridge and divide into thirds. I rolled out the dough first(which was a little difficult, as it was crumbly), but you can also just press it into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. The bottom crust should be slightly thicker than the sides.

3. Scoop marmalade into the crust and spread a thin layer across the entirety of the tart. Roll out remaining dough and cut using a cookie cutter, or into long strips for a lattice top (again this proved too difficult due to the shortbread-quality of the dough, so I opted for cut circles). Lay cut crust on top of the marmalade in a decorative fashion.

4. Brush the top of the crostata with cream (could also use water or an egg-wash) and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Do not let it darken too much--it should look like shortbread. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before serving. Enjoy with a dollop of honey-whipped cream on top (it pairs well with the bittersweet marmalade) and a cup of tea!

I originally envisioned this crostata as a sort of British tea time accompaniment, as I used a marmalade recipe from a British cookbook, and because this tart is particularly light, with a crust that is essentially a marzipan shortbread. I ended up taking it to a dinner party in Virginia for my beau's best friend's going away party, and while it was more cocktail hour than tea time, there was by chance, a number of Brits there (at least three)! I think that's one reason why it went over so well (a deeply-ingrained appreciation for marmalade, perhaps?) I topped it off with whipped cream sweetened with honey from Anarchy Apiaries at Rokeby. I'd definitely recommend a sweet whipped cream to temper the marmalade's bitterness, but all in all this is a lovely little tart with a crust that I'll definitely be incorporating in other recipes and trying out with other homemade jams and jellies.

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