One of the most delicious and aromatic Greek fruit preserves (aka glyka tou koutaliou in Greek). Bergamot; a fruit that looks like a lemon but its color is orange.
Spoon sweets held and hold a prominent role in the Greek living and their preparation is still considered a special and significant branch of the local culinary art. In Greece we make spoon sweets with almost everything: grapes, sour cherries, rose petals, small eggplants, walnuts….even tomatoes. They are traditionally served in tiny crystal bowls with tiny spoons together with a cup of Greek coffee and a glass of cold water as a gesture of hospitality.
Hands on: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1,5 hours
2 kg (4,4 lb) Bergamot orange 1kg (2,2 lb, 35,3 oz) sugar Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 cups of water
How to do it
Wash thoroughly the fruit and slightly grate them to get rid of the bitter layer of the peel (use a fine cheese grater).
Cut off the bottom and the top of the bergamot as much as is needed for the peel to be easily taken off.
Using the tip of the knife score the pith so that the peel is removed much more easily without breaking.
With the knife again, cut through the skin of bergamots in 4-5 places and pull each piece (peel) from the fruit.
Roll each piece tight and secure them with a toothpick.
In a large bowl place the rolled peels, cover them with plenty of cold water and let them rest for 8-10 hours.
During this time you must change the water in the bowl 2-3 times.
Take a big pot, fill it with water and bring to a boil.
Drain the bergamot peels and add them into the boiling water.
Boil for 15 minutes.
In the mean time take another pot, add some water again and bring to boil.
Remove the bergamot peels from the first pot and add them to the second one. Boil for another 15 minutes. This procedure is necessary to make the peels less bitter. Be careful not to over boil the peels because they will become tender.
Drain and let the rolled peels to cool. Then remove the string.
Place one of the used pots on the stove, add three cups of water and the sugar (medium to high heat). We want to make thick syrup.
Add the peels into the syrup and let them boil for 20-30minutes.
At the end of the boiling process add the lemon juice and remove the pot from the stove. Remove the foam off the surface (if needed).
Let the peels to completely cool for 4-5 hours.
Add the peels to sterilized jars and store them in a cool place. Find out here how you can sterilize your jars.
In this recipe we use only the peel, but you can keep the flesh and make a jam.
If your syrup is too thick add some water and boil again. If it is too watery keep boiling until it gets thick.
Bergamot peel is served on a very small plate with a glass of cold water, or as a topping on strained yogurt, or paired with a scoop of ice cream or add it in your cake batter (diced), or on top of tarts or other desserts and puddings.