orange blossom marmalade

orange blossom marmalade

This is not a post for the kind of person with an orchard of citrus trees in their back yard, and a beautiful pantry full of mason jars with preserved fruits and vegetables in their kitchen (you know, the kind of person who goes on the air with The Splendid Table to ask what they should do with the buckets of grapefruits they've been burdened with). Marmalade is traditionally a means of putting up a surplus of oranges, and so most recipes for marmalade yield multiple half pint jars, which can be processed in boiling water and kept at room temperature. But when I make marmalade, I'm not looking for a way to preserve buckets of oranges; I just want a little half-pint jar that will last a few weeks in the refrigerator.

orange blossom marmalade
orange blossom marmalade

So the recipe below is for a small batch, but it's not just any orange marmalade; it's an orange blossom marmalade, and it's made with clementines instead of naval oranges. Orange blossom water gives it an extra-special floral aroma, and clementines make for a less bitter marmalade, since they have a much thinner pith. This marmalade is totally dreamy, the way imaginary orange marmalade tasted on invisible toast when you were a little kid throwing tea parties.

Anissa Helou has a recipe for jam made from the petals of orange blossoms in her book of sweets, but I've never actually gotten my hands on orange blossoms themselves, so the distilled flavor of orange blossom water will have to do (I'm going to give her recipe a try next time I'm visiting my grandmother, who has an orange tree that doesn't usually get a lot of fruit, but consistently blossoms once a year).

orange blossom marmalade
orange blossom marmalade

But before I get to the recipe, I should say a few words on jam making in general. The ideal setting temperature for most jams is 220° F. This means that enough water has evaporated, so that it will set up firmly. You'll notice that I have you cook your marmalade just a couple degrees beyond 220, and that's because you're going to add more liquid back in when you add the orange blossom water. Why not add the orange blossom water at the beginning of the cooking process, and just cook it to the proper jam-setting temperature? Because a lot of the orange blossom aroma would be lost along the way. By cooking out a little extra liquid, and then adding it back in at the end, your jam will set correctly, and you'll get lots of unbelievable orange blossom flavor.

If you don't have a thermometer, you can test it the old fashioned way. Once your jam sets to your liking, continue to cook it for one or two more minutes before adding the orange blossom water, otherwise it will be too watery. This is a less surefire method, but it will work more or less.

If all this talk of temperature and setting freaks you out, but you still want some orange blossom marmalade, feel free to mix a tablespoon of orange blossom water into a jar of store-bought marmalade. One measly tablespoon won't water it down too much (though it will be a little on the runny side), but it will add a ton of orange blossom flavor.

orange blossom marmalade

small batch orange blossom marmalade

yield: 1 half-pint jar
download a PDF to print

180 grams clementines (2 large or 3 small clementines)
45 grams lemon (about 1/2 of 1 lemon)
180 grams orange or clementine juice (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon)
165 grams sugar (3/4 cup)
a pinch of salt
28 grams orange blossom water (2 tablespoons)

  • Scrub the clementines and lemon very well with a produce wash or vinegar, and rinse well with water.

  • Thinly slice the clementines and half lemon (peels and all) and place the slices (and any running juices) in a small saucepan, discarding any bits of stem or seed.

  • Add the juice, sugar, and salt to the slices, place the saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Use an instant-read or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. Remove the marmalade from heat when it reaches 223° F (about 10 minutes)*, and immediately stir in the orange blossom water.

  • Pour into a half-pint mason jar (or another storage container). Let it cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then cover it and let it chill in the fridge for an hour or two before serving. The marmalade should keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

* There's a note above about how to test for doneness without a thermometer.

orange blossom marmalade

roast garlic hummus with lots of tahini

Earthy Roast Garlic Hummus

It's amazing the variety of things you can make with a few basic ingredients. For instance, it always surprises me that a crêpe has the same ingredients as a pancake—they're both essentially flour, eggs, butter, and milk—but these two different griddle cakes taste nothing alike. While their uniqueness has a lot to do with texture (one is of course flat and the other fluffy), they also just taste different. Like, if someone took a crêpe and puréed it, and did the same to a pancake, I would bet that most people would be able to tell which is which, and this difference (preparation methods aside) is largely due to ingredient proportions.

Unfortunately, there aren't any actual pancakes in this post, but the principle is universal. In the case of hummus, the chickpea:tahini:lemon ratio is one of the most important things to consider. Even though everyone's using the same basic ingredients, no one's recipe tastes like anyone else's.

Earthy Roast Garlic Hummus

This post's hummus is not my usual recipe, which has way more lemon juice than you might ever think to add. And while I use lemon with reckless abandon, I'm not a big fan of garlicky hummus—I want the garlic to be a background note, and not such a primary flavor. And while I like to use a good amount of tahini, I don't normally use a ton. So my ideal hummus tends to be bright and lemony, with a few subdued earthy flavors in the background.

But not everyone likes their hummus the way I do, so this recipe is for everyone who hears "bright and lemony" and totally turns off. This hummus is all about savory and earthy flavors, with a hint of lemon and fresh garlic for some brightness (but don't worry, not too much). There's a ton of tahini for nutty earthiness, and even more roast garlic, for those who start every meal prep by finely mincing up a whole bunch of cloves to be sautéed, and who never sit down to a meal without a bottle of sriracha on the table. While my citrus and salad loving family always makes their hummus the way I do (I mean, where do you think I learned how?), I like to make this extra-tahini and roast garlic hummus for my in-laws, who are more into spaghetti carbonara, peanut soup, and pasta puttanesca.

Earthy Roast Garlic Hummus
Earthy Roast Garlic Hummus

These savory flavors are especially priceless in a vegan diet. There are certainly a ton of plant-based ingredients that have rich umami flavor, but if your idea of eating vegan mostly includes things like herby lemon salad with romaine and chickpeas, you're probably missing the meatier flavors that are simpler to find when eating... well... meat! An extra jolt of tahini and roast garlic is just the thing for some bonus savoriness.

Many Assyrians spend a big chunk of the year on a vegan fast, so this hummus recipe is particularly perfect for fasting times (or "soma"). There's an important, albeit short, vegan fast coming up soon (depending on the denomination, some will observe it this week, some next week), called the Fast of Nineveh. This fast commemorates Jonah's prophecy and the subsequent repentance of the Ninevites (the Assyrians living in the city of Nineveh). My grandmother says that this holiday is like Assyrian Thanksgiving, because it's a time to reflect on what you're thankful for. I'm definitely thankful for hummus in all its forms!

Earthy Roast Garlic Hummus

More hummus: zesty lemon hummus

roast garlic hummus with lots of tahini

Download a PDF to print
If you want to skip soaking and cooking the beans, simply use 2 15.5 ounce cans of chickpeas, and skip to "making the hummus."

Soaking the beans

1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons baking soda

  • Cover the chickpeas with the water and baking soda, and stir until the baking soda dissolves. Soak overnight, for at least 12 hours.

Cooking the beans

2 quarts water
2 teaspoons baking soda
Soaked chickpeas

  • Discard the soaking liquid, add the drained chickpeas to a small stockpot, and cover with another 2 quarts of water and 2 more teaspoons baking soda.

  • Bring to a boil over high heat, and then immediately reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the chickpeas are completely cooked through.

  • Once they're done, strain them and rinse them under cold water.

Making the hummus

cooked chickpeas (or 2 15.5 ounce cans of chickpeas, strained and rinsed)
8 whole unpeeled garlic cloves, for roasting
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, raw
2/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon juice *
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste **
2 tablespoons water, or more if necessary
For serving: extra virgin olive oil, za'atar *** and/or paprika, and pita bread and/or veggies

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F.

  • While the chickpeas are cooling down, roast the garlic: coat the unpeeled cloves in the 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and roast them for 20 to 30 minutes, until they're very soft, and the skins have cracked open a little to reveal some brown spots on the cloves underneath.

  • Once the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, peel them out of their skins (they'll most likely easily peel away, but if they don't, you can squeeze them out of their skins like toothpaste).

  • Finely mince the 1 clove of raw garlic in a food processor.

  • Once the chickpeas have cooled, purée them with the minced fresh garlic, roast garlic, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and 2 tablespoons water, until completely smooth. Add more water if necessary.

  • Spread the hummus on 2 plates (or freeze half for another time and spread half on one plate), make little indentations with the back of a spoon, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with either paprika or za'atar (pictured: one of each).

* Feel free to use just 1/4 cup if you prefer, but it's really good with the full amount.
** If you're using canned chickpeas instead of dried, you might want to cut back on the amount of salt you add. This recipe has you cook the chickpeas in unsalted water, so this is the only opportunity to add salt to the hummus. Some canned chickpeas, on the other hand, come with quite a bit of sodium.
*** Za'atar with plenty of sesame and thyme works great here, since this is a more earthy, less zesty hummus.

Earthy Roast Garlic Hummus
Earthy Roast Garlic Hummus