The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Grapefruit marmalade and tarts + pain au levains

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PiPs's picture
PiPs

Grapefruit marmalade and tarts + pain au levains

For the most important years in a young boy’s life I had the good fortune of living next door to my grandparents—perched high on a hill at the very edge of town. I have so many fond memories of these years—watching storm clouds build in the west, a school holiday spent watercolour painting with my grandfather, piano lessons with my grandmother, summer days spent picking grapes, kippers on toast for breakfast, fig jam and fresh grapefruit.

Surrounding their house was a large garden that was not only beautiful but also plentiful. Grapevines across the road, almond trees, stone fruits, a vegetable garden, rhubarb, chokos (chayote … yuk!) fig trees and lining their back fence were citrus and grapefruit trees.

These grapefruit trees are simply incredible. After all these years they still produce a constant stream of fruit and every trip up to my family sees me bringing home large bags brimming with grapefruit and lemons. And to top this off is the fruit from my parents own burgeoning citrus trees.

Back in Brisbane, we hand on as many grapefruit as possible to Nat’s parents and some of our friends but this still leaves us with extra fruit using up valuable fridge space—my first instinct with excess fruit is always to make jam.

You see, I grew up with jam makers—my grandparents always had a steady supply of cumquat marmalade and fig jam topped with wax seals, and I remember many afternoons spent making apricot jam with my mum from boxes of fruit picked out of an orchard behind our house.

My method for grapefruit and lemon marmalade is pretty high-touch. Six grapefruit and six lemons are covered with water in a large pot and boiled until the skin is easily pierced with a skewer. After being taken off the heat the fruit is then left to soak overnight.

The following morning I half the fruit and scoop out the flesh which I place in a muslin cloth to separate out the liquid. The peel is sliced thinly and I combine it with the extracted liquid in a large pot before adding the same weight in sugar. (… or up to one and a half times the weight depending on the sweetness required) I then cook out the marmalade until it wrinkles in a set-test. It is then bottled in sterilized jars and finished with a boiling water bath.

I just adore the play between the sweet and tartness combined with the texture of the peel. Toasted pain au levain and marmalade—breakfast has never tasted better!

We were bringing a treat to morning tea with friends the following day so a few grapefruit and lemons were kept aside. On top of a flaky sweet shortcrust pastry from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook I put together a citrus tart using lemons and grapefruits. My skill with shortcrust pastry is improving and each result brings further encouragement.

Rest the dough! Work quick! (it’s getting warm in our kitchen) Rest the dough! … and did I mention rest the dough?

Zest from grapefruit and lemons are combined with their juice plus cream, sugar and egg yolks. This filling was a bright delight and I found the grapefruit added an element of interest and to a well-known favourite. Flaky pastry covered the quickly emptied plate.

And amongst all this kitchen activity some bread found its way to the oven—as it does every weekend—and yet again it is my take on Gerard Rubaud’s pain au levain. I am continuing to retard the shaped loaves overnight and then start the next morning with the aroma of fresh baked bread.

A loaf is left out on the bench wrapped snugly in a tea-towel and the remainder are sliced and frozen for use during the week. mmm … marmalade on toast perhaps?

With the kitchen wiped down and clean we relax into the late afternoon. Perhaps a treat?

Cheers,
Phil

Comments

Mebake's picture
Mebake

How inspiring, Phil! Love the bread, and pastry! oh, and jam! have you given up on wholegrains ;)

just beautiful!

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Ha Ha,

Looks like it doesn't it :) ... but no, I have been baking a few high extraction breads lately ... I have given the mill a real workout :)

Cheers,
Phil

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

beautiful bread, pies, jam and pastries.  Brought a tear to my eye as our pink grapefruit succumbed to the thrip a couple of years ago. 

Nice baking and cooking Phil.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks mr dabrownman,

A shame about your tree ... :(

We have a lemon tree at home which SO high maintenance ... every bug and critter under the sun is keen to have a crack at it.

Cheers,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Phil,

You are so full of wonderful stories.....My mind screams 'book'....  Totally selfish on my part as I love reading your narratives and I drool over the pictures you include...I know, not very lady-like but what can I say......

And then I think - no book because then 'this' would all be held static and what I love is the surprise I get whenever I see you have posted something new.

Thanks for today's 'treat'.  We are heading into winter so seeing grapefuit and lemons and sunshine transports me to another time and place entirely :-)  Thanks for the 'trip'.

Take Care,

Janet

PiPs's picture
PiPs

:) Your welcome Janet,

I hope to have a few more stories up my sleeve for the blog ...

Winter eh? Spring feels like summer here at the moment ... a bit of a shock to the system. My levain is going ballistic :)

Cheers,
Phil

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Phil, really nice post. I love the uncluttered feel to your pictures. Your breads, jams, marmalade, and  tart, have made me hungry, and I have just eaten. I'm thinking bread and jam. I purchased fig butter at Trader Joes the other day, not bad. I think I might have been subliminally influenced by one of your previous posts mentioning fig jam.

All the best,

Ray

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Ray,

ooh ... fig butter sounds delicious.

Cheers,
Phil

hanseata's picture
hanseata

and a very well written post, Phil. Nothing better than a freshly baked bread with homemade jam. I love Lepard's Dalemain's Marmalade, and I'd like to try yours, too.

Karin

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Karin,

Thanks for the reminder about Dan's marmalade story ... I remember reading that a while ago and completely forgot about it.

Cheers,
Phil

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and nobody pulls off bread with toppings like you do, Phil!  Beautiful!   I even checked my finger tips for flour and jam before touching my keys again!

I'm going to copy your tart foil cover... up over the edge and under to protect from browning too soon.  

Can't get enough of your pictures so I keep scrolling up and down.  Delightful attention to details. 

:)  Mini

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Mini :)

You're quite safe from the jam and flour ... I dusted off the photos before I uploaded them :)

I reckon I still need some practice with shortcrust until I am entirely comfortable ... each tart shell is better than the last though.

Cheers,
Phil

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

She tells me the best crusts have the least amount of water!   She often doesn't use any.   Hmmmm.  :)  

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I have another recipe that doesn't use any water ... some egg yolks in there though I think. A lot more fragile from memory ...

I so do love a good shortcrust pastry ... dangerous :)

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

half the water and your crusts will instantly improve!  Water means tough.  We use 1/3  shortening and 2/3rds butter.  Flaky but tender.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I absolutely agree. I bake my pies with Cook's Illustrated foolproof vodka crust, and it's so much easier. Vodka moistens the dough, but doesn't interact with the gluten.

Karin

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I'll track down that recipe and have a look.

The shortcrust recipe I used has some vinegar and water ... because of the water content the crust still seems to shrink a bit no matter how long you rest it.

Thanks for the advice :)

Cheers,
Phil 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Phil, here is the link to the Foolproof Vodka Crust.

Karin