This is the best orange marmalade I have ever tasted. I don't even bother with a knife, or even toast for that matter. It needs no transport medium other than a big spoon, and is eaten preferably in the wee hours while crouched in a dark corner, making feral noises.
ALICE’S ANGRY, BITTER ORANGE MARMALADE
The original recipe calls for 3 ounces of liquid pectin, which Alice says is uncalled for, since the ugly rinds and pith are essentially “pectin on the hoof”. God love an Alice.
1 cup zested or thinly sliced pretty sour orange peels (about six of the prettiest oranges, do not pack)
1 cup water
½ cup fresh but strained and irritable sour orange juice
¾ cup water
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
2 ¾ cups supremed* and finely chopped orange segments, plus enough reserved juice to equal 3 cups (about 16 to 20 small, ugly, angry, bitter oranges)
5 cups sugar
½ teaspoon unsalted butter (optional)
Lots of ugly orange rinds with pith, or, if you must, one 3-ounce pouch of greedy corporate liquid pectin
*Supremed oranges are orange segments that have been peeled and all of the separating membranes and pips cut away. They become overly proud, but this is necessary.
1. PECTIN: Cover the ugly, pithy, sour orange rinds with a small amount of water, and simmer for about an hour, then discard the ugly rinds without another thought and reduce the liquid to about 3-4 ounces of thickened sourness. This is the pectin. Or go to the store, you silly, and buy some.
2. Combine the pretty peels and 1 cup of water in a small bowl and soak for 10 minutes. Drain the peel and discard the water, you wastrel, or better yet, water that sickly houseplant you wish would just die already. Either way, your guilt will soon be over.
3. In an 8-quart pot, combine the drained but still lovely peels with the strained, irritable orange juice, ¾ cup water and baking soda. Over medium high heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, telling dirty limericks all the while to break the tension. Stir in the supreme orange segments, cover and simmer 10 minutes more.
4. Remove the cover and stir in the sugar and, if you feel strongly about it, the butter. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved into despair.
5. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the pectin and return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Let the boil fester, again stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, lance the boil, and skim off any resulting foam.
6. To prevent floating fruit, allow the marmalade to cool, and gossip for 5 minutes. Gently stir the marmalade to mingle the fruity bits with the pretty, pretty peel. Ladle the marmalade into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace (don’t go there). Wipe the jar rims and lids with a clean, damp cloth, just in case you did go there. Cover with the hot lids and apply screw rings as tight as your sadistic little soul can. Process half-pint jars in a 200F water bath for 10 minutes, pint jars for 15 minutes. If you like your marmalade to be not so processed, freeze it instead. Angry, bitter deliciousness awaits.