We still have quite a few jars of perfectly delicious marmalade and various jams from years past, I realized as I was arranging in my cupboards the new pots of Seville orange marmalade I made last week. Besides offering to friends, using it as an ingredient –instead of sugar—in cakes and breads, I thought that maybe I could use these leftover marmalades to make some kind of fruit ‘cheese,’ or a locum (Turkish delight). These intensely citrus-flavored pastes would surely make bites infinitely more interesting than the usual colored rose-water, I thought.
Looking up recipes, I was sure somebody else had probably thought of thickening a jam to create fruity bites, but I didn’t find anything on the web, so I decided to improvise, starting from the basic recipes for Turkish delights. I multiplied the amount of cornstarch, as I ended up emptying in the pot two and a half quarts of various marmalades: two small pots of tangerine, a large jar of lemon and three medium-size pots of Seville orange marmalade. Before I started to heat the mixture, though, I realized that the long strands of peel would be a nuisance when I would cut the locum, so I decided to puree the marmalade in the blender.
I diluted the cornstarch in orange juice, added it to the pot and cooked the mixture, stirring constantly, for almost 30 minutes. But although considerably thick, it was clear that my concoction was never going to become dense and jelly-like, to cut into pieces.
I turned off the heat and covered the pot. It was already late, and as I was preparing our lunch, I thought that I probably needed to add quite a bit more cornstarch and cook the marmalade again, for at least another half hour. Then I considered adding agar-agar. I found online recipes for Turkish delights made with agar, starting with just water. Since my mixture was already thick enough, maybe I should use less than the recipes directed. But then I knew that I had to boil the agar in water for at least 8 minutes, so I finally decided to decrease only slightly the amount of agar I would have needed if I had to thicken two and a half liters of plain liquid.
Still, the final marmalade ‘cheese’ is not as thick and rubbery as locum, but I like its creamier consistency. The whole process was long, and I wish I had started with a smaller quantity of marmalade. But the citrusy pieces are really delicious, with intense flavor and aroma. I think they will pair beautifully with spicy cheese, with cookies, both sweet and savory, as well as with chocolates.