As a child I would watch my mother baking in the kitchen, all the while waiting for her to call me over – her “little helper”. How I loved to watch my mother bake, I was amazed as she created works of art. One of my favorite desserts she would make was a sweet of the spoon, in Greece called “γλυκο του κουταλιου”, where she simmered assorted fruit peels into a delectable dessert.
As a Greek tradition, it is customary to offer this luscious spoon sweet to your guest upon arriving, served alongside water and Greek coffee. My mother carried this tradition well into my adulthood. Today for #citruslove I am inviting you into my kitchen and passing along this beautiful tradition, serving you “Gliko Koutaliou Portokali” also known as “Orange Peel Sweet of the Spoon”.
Here’s what you’ll need…
Makes 2 – 12 ounce mason jars of sweet preserves
8 navel oranges
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Preparing the orange peel:
Clean by washing and brushing your oranges. Slice and remove the peel in strips, removing all of the oranges external rind using a knife or a peeler. There’s no need to remove all the pith, keeping some of the pith adds to the flavor. Continue to cut the orange peel rind into 1/2 inch thin strips – julienne style. (save the inside of the orange for eating, smoothie or juicing).
Note: Traditionally in Greece when preserving large strips of fruit peels, like oranges, grapefruits and watermelons, it’s routine to sew and thread the fruit rinds into a circle, similar to the photo below. I also used a skewer to speed up the process, though this leaves large holes in your fruit.
Place the peels in a large saucepan with enough cold water, be sure to cover about 2 inches. The peels will naturally want to float to the top so I placed a dish atop to fully submerge them in the water. Let soak for 12 hours or overnight. You will need to pour the water out, rinse the orange peels and refill saucepan with cold water. Repeat this process approximately every 4 hours.
After the peels have soaked, pour out the water, rinse the peels and refill saucepan with water. Place saucepan on stove at medium high heat and bring to a boil, cooking for 5 minutes from when water begins to boil. Drain and rinse the peels with cold water. Repeat boiling and rinsing process two additional times for three minutes each time. Rinse the orange peels and strain in colander removing excess water.
In order to remove excess moisture, place orange peels on a flat surface atop of a towel to dry anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
Preparing the sweet of the spoon:
Place sugar and water in a saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add orange peels and allow to simmer on a low boil for 20 minutes until a syrup begins to form and thickens slightly. My mother wanted me to tell you – it should be thick like honey, enough to coat your spoon, hence sweet of the spoon. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, add the 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, stir until combined.
Allow to cool completely before storing in sterilized jars. Since I was serving this for a dinner party and gave some as party favors in small 4 ounce jars, I bypassed the canning process.
There are so many ways to serve this luscious sweet syrupy dessert – with a scone, on toast or simply by the spoonful. Do as the Greeks do and serve it as your first course at a dinner party. But… this Greek got adventurous and served dessert last, graciously set atop a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with a pistachio orange oatmeal cookie – (recipe soon to follow). I wanted my guests blabbering sweet nothings at their departure.
I’m part of bloghop, where the food blog community connects with other blogs to share recipes and spread the love. This month, January is #citruslove month!
You’re more than welcome to join us in #citruslove fun by simply adding your recipe at the end of this bloghop! Be sure to link back to this post, so that your readers know to stop by the #citruslove event! The twitter hashtag is #citruslove – have Fun & OPA!
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