Sunday, 12 August 2012

Retro Dessert time! Caramel Clementines with vanilla icecream. Saturday August 11th 2012

First dessert using Clemengold clementines (there will be several in the days to come, there are a LOT of clementines in my box..) I decided on a retro classic I haven't had for years.

Clementines in Caramel Sauce

It used to be a stalwart of Italian restaurant dessert trolleys - and for all I know, may still be in the lovely old fashioned Italian restaurants where the waiters brandish braggadocio pepper grinders and drag you to your feet to dance just as your dinner arrives at the table.

They are not difficult to make. The zest is stripped from them first, either using a zester or by peeling them, paring the soft pith from the inside of the zesty outside and finely shredding the zest. Then peel all the pith and stringy bits away from the fruit. Put the fruit into a serving bowl.

Blanch the shredded zest by boiling in water to cover for about 5 minutes until softened, and then make a caramel using a splash of the zesty water and caster sugar - I use about 200g of sugar for 5-6 fruit. The caramel wants to be quite dark, the colour of good maple syrup. This is then diluted with a little more of the zesty water (be careful, wrap your hand in a teatowel and add slowly, it will froth and may splash), the juice of a couple more clementines,  maybe a little alcohol of your choice, a little orange flower water. Add the zest back into the syrup and cook for 5 minutes or so, then pour the hot syrup over the little peeled clementines. piling the zest up on top of each one.

Chill and serve with vanilla icecream, greek yoghurt or whipped cream as you prefer.


  1. The trolley! I remember watching the trolley as it went from table to table and hoping that all the chocolate cake wouldn't be gone by the time it came to us. I think I always admired the oranges but chose the chocolate. Your photos are beautiful and they sound so easy to make, I think I might try ! Thank you for posting the recipe.

    1. Ah yes.. that frisson of fear that the lady on the table before you will have the last bit. I used to dither for ages, and then settle on the creme caramel plus something fruity, often these oranges. I loved that if you asked you could have a little bit of lots of things.

      I remember a story I heard from a publishing client, who was eating with his wife at The White House hotel in London which had an amazing dessert trolley at the time (late 1980s). The waiter leaned forward somewhat obsequiously and asked "has Madam decided?" at which Valerie said, with an all embracing sweep of her arm, "yes.. THAT please.."

    2. That's a great, great story! I love it :)