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I messed up the marmalade...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

..and it is too far gone to fix.  It is so sad to see it thrown away (and it was quite a large batch, too).

 

Now, I know it is hard to troubleshoot from afar, but this has really been bothering me all night because I just don't quite know what went wrong. I would really love to hear your hypothoses.

 

We had a special order of sour oranges that one of the line cooks was going to make into marmalade and he asked me for help.  I said "sure, marmalade is easy, I have made it many times" (wait, did I just jinx myself?).

 

So, into a huge pot goes about 6 quarts of sour orange juice, zest and a lot of sugar.  It cooks on low heat for a while, but it is still quite thin and is taking a while to cook down.  It is getting stirred and checked on regularly, but it does seem that all at once it burns.  It has turned quite brown and bitter, yet the consistency is still thinner than honey.  This is what puzzles me - to my knowledge, the sugar won't burn (or even caramelize) until the water has evaporated.  The mixture did not scorch or stick to the bottom in any way.  So, that leaves the zest - could this overcook before the orange juice was reduced?  I haven't had that happen before, but I am not sure what else it could be.

I had the other chefs all look at it to see if anyone knew what went wrong, but it remains a mystery.

 

post #2 of 11

A few things I can think of  You added a lot of sugar? how much is a lot? You cooked it at to high a temperature for to long (use a candy thermometer. Your liquid to sugar ratio was to low.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #3 of 11

Yeah, I think you jinxed yourself. :-( What happened to you sounds really weird. I checked a couple of recipes and I can't figure it out. Normally, it's just oranges (sometimes with lemon or grapefruit added), water and an amount of sugar equal to the measurement of the chopped or sliced oranges with water. Cooked until thick. All I can think of is that the acidity level of the oranges was not high enough or, as Ed suggested, the ratio wasn't right. If it's palatable, try adding some clear-jel or gelatine. If it tastes burnt, it's burnt.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks, blwilson - I hate kitchen mysteries.  I always want to understand what I did wrong to prevent a repeat.  When you cook long enough, every once in a while ingredients just don't behave the way you expect them to.  

The marmalade ended up in the garbage.

post #5 of 11

Don't feel bad. I've tossed many failures in the garbage. But if you can learn just one thing from that, you've won.

post #6 of 11


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blwilson2039 View Post

Don't feel bad. I've tossed many failures in the garbage. But if you can learn just one thing from that, you've won.



If it makes you feel better I just tossed not 1, not 2, but 3 batches of Pate de Fruits in the garbage. It's my first go around making them and I have learned something from every single batch.

 

You learn from your failures more than your successes.biggrin.gif

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well, I have definitely messed up my share of pate de fruit, especially when trying to work with fresh fruit (instead of purees).  The sugar can vary a bit and change the temperature it needs to cook to.  I guess anyone that cooks a lot has to deal with the occasional "learning experience".

post #8 of 11

Yeah, my "Rock Star Pastry Chef" friend touted Pate de Fruit to my boss and I as something "SO EASY" to make and it would look beautiful in the case, keeps well etc. It is so NOT easy to make! well for me any way, for a "Rock Star Pastry Chef" maybe it's easy. tongue.gif

post #9 of 11

I will definitely agree that Pate de Fruit is not as easy to make because the puree can burn so easily. And if you cook it at a lower temperature, it takes FOREVER. I used to make them as a mignardise on a regular basis and I dreaded it because of the time it took. The servers didn't understand why I got torqued when they didn't wrap them up at the end of the night.The higher acidic purees were not so bad, but I always ended up with a little scorching on the bottom so I never scraped the pan. And I had to be careful it didn't have a burnt taste. I don't miss them.

post #10 of 11

Hello,

 

When explaining a recipe you must always give the exact details of the ingredients else it will be useless and the result will not at all be good.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by blwilson2039 View Post

I will definitely agree that Pate de Fruit is not as easy to make because the puree can burn so easily. And if you cook it at a lower temperature, it takes FOREVER. I used to make them as a mignardise on a regular basis and I dreaded it because of the time it took. The servers didn't understand why I got torqued when they didn't wrap them up at the end of the night.The higher acidic purees were not so bad, but I always ended up with a little scorching on the bottom so I never scraped the pan. And I had to be careful it didn't have a burnt taste. I don't miss them.



I have been using the capfruit puree and so far only the raspberry one. I can now add batch 4 to the tossed list, lol. I just ordered the yellow pectin from E.I. (what R.S.P.C. told me to use) so hopefully that will solve the last problem.

I have been cooking them at a medium/medium-high temp and stirring constantly. I haven't had time to get back to it (we have had some staff "restructuring" the past 2 weeks) but plan to next week.

You don't miss them? That scares me tongue.gif

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