Shane Delia on “Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice Journey” writes: “My version of the traditional Moroccan crumpet is crisper and airier, yet denser at the same time. The addition of a little semolina in the batter and on the base of the rings is the secret to a crisp crumpet. The clementine marmalade is lovely, especially with the earthy touch of saffron, but you can serve these with whatever jam you like.”
Seville orange (or bigarade) is a widely known, particularly tart orange which is now grown throughout the Mediterranean region. It has a thick, dimpled skin, and is prized for making marmalade, being higher in pectin than the sweet orange, and therefore giving a better set and a higher yield. It is also used in compotes and for orange-flavored liqueurs. Once a year, oranges of this variety are collected from trees in Seville and shipped to Britain to be used in marmalade. However, the fruit is rarely consumed locally in Andalusia
The name Marmalade comes from the Portuguese word Marmelos, a quince paste similar in texture to an orange spread popular long before the commercialisation of marmalade in the late 18th century.
Despite the belief that marmalade was ‘invented’ in Scotland by James Keiller and his wife it was not – though due thanks must go to the Keiller who are generally credited with making the delicious breakfast preserve commercially available. The romantic notion of James Keiller discovering a cargo of bitter oranges being sold cheaply which his wife then turned into jam has long been outed considering the existence of recipes for similar ‘jams’ dating back to the 1500s.
According to food historian Ivan Day, one of the earliest known recipe for for a Marmelet of Oranges (close to what we know as marmalade today) comes from the recipe book of Eliza Cholmondeley around 1677.
Types of Orange Marmalade
There are endless varieties of Marmalade and arguments abound at the breakfast table to personal preferences. Amongst the most popular are:
Thick Cut – the orange peel in the jelly is cut into thick chunks creating a tangy bitter flavor. Thin Cut – the orange peel is shredded finely resulting in a softer flavor and texture. Flavored – endless varieties with added flavors; whisky, Grand Marnier, ginger, or a mixture of citrus fruits. Vintage – marmalade left to mature for a denser, richer flavor. Black – made by the adding of brown sugar or black molasses.
The bitter oranges needed for making true marmalade are only available in late-winter to early spring. Seville orange pulp is also available year-round in cans which it does make a good marmalade, though frowned on by purists.