Ever since I can remember I have been strangely addicted to the sweet and tangy flavour of lime marmalade. I think this wonderful obsession began when my dad would make toast in the morning – thick slices of bread toasted until golden then slathered with far too much butter and bitter, chunky, and sticky marmalade. This little morning treat was always paired with a hot mug of Milo. Heaven.
I am lucky enough to have access to plenty of lemons thanks to our abundant lemon tree in the garden. With too many lemons to know what to do with I thought I’d make lemon marmalade and pair it with a lovely crumby biscuit.
The biscuits are made with wholemeal flour, pistachio meal, honey for sweetness, vanilla, and a little butter. Baked until golden and topped with a dollop of sweet and tangy lemon marmalade. Glossy white meringue hides the marmalade surprise and provides the most glorious textural difference when you take a bite. These biscuits are a true afternoon treat and perfect eaten with hot cup of tea.
FOR THE BISCUITS:
100g unsalted butter
25g soft brown sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped – or 1tsp vanilla extract
100g wholemeal flour
½ tsp baking powder
20g pistachios, shelled
Preheat oven to 170C
Add the pistachios to the bowl of a food processor, whiz until fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
For the biscuits, combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Whiz until creamy and light in colour.
Add the vanilla, honey, flour, baking powder, pistachios, and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse until well combined.
Turn out mixture onto a long piece of baking paper. Roll up the dough in the baking paper so that it resembles a Christmas bonbon. Twist the ends tightly and pop into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
Take out the biscuit dough and slice into 0.5mm round discs. Lay out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
FOR THE MARMALADE:
250g (approx. 2) unwaxed lemons
Place a small plate or saucer into the fridge to chill – this will be used when testing for the setting point of the marmalade.
Wash the lemons, remove and discard the hard ‘button’, which would have been attached to the stalk. Put the lemons in a saucepan with 650ml of water. Bring up to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours, until the lemon skins are tender.
Remove lemons from saucepan. Measure the cooking liquid – you will need 375ml in total. If there isn’t enough, add water to make up the difference. If you have too much liquid, bring to the boil and reduce to 375ml.
Cut the lemons in half and remove the pips, keep the pips and place in a small piece of muslin and tie up securely with string – or alternatively, place the pips in a small mesh tea ball. Add this to the pan, as the pectin in the pips will help the setting process of the marmalade.
Take one of the lemons and peel it. Cut the peel and flesh into strips, as thick or as thin as you link. Put all this back into the pan, along with any juices.
Pop the other lemon – skin and all into the bowl of a food processor. Whiz until finely chopped. Strain the mixture and add it to the saucepan.
Add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring until it has dissolved. Cook the mixture for approx. 10-15 minutes, until it achieves a syrupy consistency.
Test the setting point by putting a teaspoon of marmalade onto the chilled plate, allowing to the cool for 1 minute, then tip the plate, if the marmalade runs, cook for a further 5 minutes, then try the test again.
Once it has reached setting point, leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove the muslin bag containing the pips, and gently stir. Pour marmalade into a clean bowl.*
* This recipe makes slightly more marmalade than you need for this biscuit recipe. To store the left over marmalade pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately. Store in a cool dry place and refrigerate once open.
FOR THE MERINGUE:
100g caster sugar
2 egg whites
Add the sugar and a pinch of salt to the bowl of a food processor. Add the egg whites and whiz on high, until the mixture is glossy, smooth, and stiff.
Test the meringue by pinching a little bit of the mixture and rubbing it between your fingers. If it is smooth and there is no trace of any sugar crystals then it’s perfect, if you can feel the sugar, continue to whiz in the processor for another few minutes. Set aside.
Spoon the marmalade into the centre of each biscuit and using a spoon, cover with meringue and smooth over the biscuits so you get lovely spiky peaks.
Blowtorch the top of the meringue and finish with a grating of lemon zest and crushed pistachios.
Makes 12 biscuits