These Caramel Poached Clementines has to be my favourite dessert of the moment. So much so that if we had citrus fruit during Xmas this would be my number one Xmas dessert. And as you can see I am so happy with the photos so the post is jam packed with them.
The addition of the brandy and vanilla adds to the exceptional layers of flavour of the dessert. You have the deep sweetness of the caramel, perfumed with the clementine peel. Cooking the peel in the caramel yields a candied peel which is not only delicious to eat but also perfumes the deep sweet caramel flavour with its citrus notes. The slight sourness against the sweet caramel hits your mouth as you bite into the fruit. And then the creaminess of the vanilla ice cream smoothly rounds it all off. And use the best quality vanilla ice cream you can. Home made even better if you have the time and inclination (which I did not).
I used a 1999 Savingnac Potstill Brandy as part of the poaching liquid and as I much I know my dad will not approve of using something so good to cook with I am hoping that Roger, who distills it will approve! Matured for at least 12 years and tasting notes of “marmalade and molasses, cinnamon and clove, coffee and chocolate, hazelnut and nutmeg, old rose and raisin, vanilla and sandalwood”, I think the combination could not be better.
As I am writing this I am thinking of all other ways to serve this dessert, my current thinking is a wintery pavlova. Meringue and chantilly cream piled high with the delicous fruit and topped with shards of the candied peel. I think naartjies (tangerines) could work so well, oranges too but a smaller orange in size. I would also love to try this recipe with grapefruit.
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- 8 – 10 small to medium clementines
- 300g sugar
- 100ml water
- 100ml brandy
- additional 100ml water
- a good pinch of salt
- 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
- vanilla ice cream for serving
- Peel the clementines making very little pith remains to the flesh, keeping the peel of 3 clementines
- Slice each Clementine in half horizontally
- Using a small sharp knife strip away the pith from the peel of the 3 clementines and set it aside. (Easiest way is to place the peel pith side up on a wooden board, place the knife between the pith and peel and to strip it away moving away from your.)
- Pour some cold water in a bowl enough the fit a medium pan and set aside.
- Place the sugar and 100ml water in a medium pan and heat over a medium heat while stirring until all the sugar has dissolved
- Bring it to the boil and then reduce to a fast simmer without stirring for about 8-10 minutes until the syrup turns a golden colour.
- Keep a close eye and as soon as the syrup turns an amber coloured caramel remove immediately from the heat and place the pan in the bowl with the cold water to stop the caramel from cooking further
- Return to the heat and stir in the brandy, 100ml water, cleaned peel and salt and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Turn up the heat a little bit and add the vanilla pod
- Poach the clementines in batches for two minutes in the syrup, turning over once and transfer to a flat dish
- Once all the fruit has been poached and placed in the dish, pour over the hot syrup with the vanilla pods and let it cool for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Turn the clementines over in the syrup a few times during the cooling time.
- Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
Adapted from www.waitrose.com