Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category
Those who grew up with the yearly autumn tradition of making large quantities of marmelada (quince jam) will not easily forget the sweet aromatic smell that fills the family home as a tick puree of quince simmers in sugar before it is poured in porcelain bowls to set (unless of course it is eaten before it gets a chance!).
This family recipe produces a smooth and rich marmelada which is delicious on the day and develops into a complex, almost cheese like consistency over months. Portuguese marmelada-making families spend a considerable amount of time debating the pros and cons of fresh versus set marmelada. Best thing is to try making it, eat one bowl straight away with fresh bread, crackers and cheese and keep the rest to eat over the winter months.
The jelly is a way of using up some of the quince flavour that stays in the cooking water and can be used for glazing cakes, in gravies and sauces or simply on bread.
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Portuguese figs are a real treat in the summer when you can pick them off the tree alongside any country path… Different varieties excel in either taste, juiciness or sweetness. Figs are common all across Portugal and the Algarve region is particularly known for producing the best. This noble fruit (they say Louis XIV kept 700 fig trees in Versailles to supply the royal table) is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of salads to add sweetness and looks! The dried variety used for this recipe is easily obtained in most supermarkets but the quality of the figs is crucial for this to work. Here, a basic flavoured syrup is added to dried figs, making them rich with moisture and producing an excellent fig flavoured syrup. The combination of lemon peel and cinnamon is widely used in Portuguese deserts and produces a delicately spiced flavour. Figs in syrup are ideal as a topping for a special fruit salad or ice-cream, as a dessert garnish or just on their own!