In April, navel oranges are imported from Spain. They are medium to large fruits with a smooth skin which is easy to remove. Perfect for candying and so so sweet. These little treasures are going to be best friends with a cup of Earl grey tea in the afternoon. And as for sweet treats, I honestly think we need to incorporate them, as a luxury, to keep us mentally balanced about our relationship with food . The problem is that out and about bakery treats that meet my nutritional standards are near impossible to find, and I am not willing to sacrifice what I believe is healthy for me. So when I do have a sweet bakery craving ( and I do!) I am perfectly capable to make a simple recipe like this. Plus it is going to taste miles better then anything store bought anyways!
for the fCandied peel
450g Navel oranges
Slice the peel from the fruit, retaining as much pith as possible. Slice into strips and place in a pan of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and repeat the process 3 times. Then dissolve the sugar in the 125ml of water over a low heat. Add the peel and cook for about an hour by which time most of the syrup will be absorbed. Pick out the peel pieces with tongs and place on a rack to drain. Once its cooled you can chop it into small pieces to mix into the biscuits.
for the Shortbread biscuits.
150g spelt flour
100g butter, cold and cubed.
50g caster sugar
50g chopped candied orange
Place the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the chopped candied orange and mix briefly. Tip onto a floured surface and using your hands, press the crumbs into a smooth dough. Take care not to overmix. Roll to 0.5cm thick and cut out your chosen shapes. Place on a baking sheet, lined with baking parchment and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven to 170C/150C fan/ gas 3. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits are pale golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.
Our Tudor Inspiration
To make Jumbils* a hundred Take twenty Egges and put them into a pot both the yolks and white, beat them wel, then take a pound of beaten usage and put to them , and stir them wel together, then put to it a quarter of a peck of flower, and make hard paste thereof, and then with Anniseede moulds it well, and make it in littles rowles being long, and the them in knots, and wet the ends in Rosewater, then put them into a pan of seething water, but euen in one waum, then take them out with a Skimmer and lay them in a cloth to drie, this being doon lay them in a tart panne, the bottom beeing oyled, then put them into a temperature Ouen for one howre, tuning them often in the Ouen. The good Huswifes Jewell by Thomas Dawson (London, 1585)
*Jumbles were knot shaped biscuits