Yield: 4-5 pints
2 pounds whole clementines, rinsed and dried
3½ cups sugar
4 cups water, plus more for blanching
Pinch of salt
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ounce Grand Marnier (optional)
With peels on, slice off and discard the stem ends of each clementine. Cut each fruit into quarters and then slice as thinly as possible.
Place the fruit in a 6- to 8-quart pot and fill with water until fruit is covered. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
Return fruit to the pot and add sugar, water, salt and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring gently. Skim and discard any foam that rises during the first few minutes of boiling. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring frequently for about 40 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the remaining liquid forms a gel—this is achieved at 221°. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the marmalade for doneness by chilling a small saucer or spoon in the freezer and then placing a teaspoon of hot marmalade onto the chilled surface. If the preserves still run loosely after 5 minutes, keep cooking. If they are reluctant to run and wrinkle when pushed with a finger, they are done.
Once done, remove vanilla bean, add lemon juice and liquor if using. Ladle into sterilized jars and either process for canning or store in refrigerator for up to 6 months.
—Recipe by Abigael Birrell