One of the pleasures of the cold season is the beautiful citrus fruit that we can look forward to! The lemons, oranges and mandarines that our body craves in the winter cold; but also the more exotic bergamot, lime or grapefruit… I am just back from Morocco where citrus groves adorn the immaculate parks and roads of Marrakech. I have brought back many scents and spices in my luggage but before I lay it all out on here, I give you a lemon infused pudding that should warm your soul with the fragrances of sun-scorched bazars and lemon scented gardens. Morocco is an assault on all of our senses, but the sense of smell is the most abused and ravished of all… Anything else seems bland and monochrome for a while afterwards…
- Lemons, thin skinned and unwaxed, 4
- Sugar, 175g
- Eggs, 4
- Ground almonds, 175g
- Bicarbonate of soda, 1/4 tsp
Top and tail the lemons and rinse them under hot water.
Put them whole into a large pan with 600ml of water and cook on a slow boil for 1 hour. Making sure there is always enough water: you should end up with about 300ml of liquid – add some if you do not!
Open the lemons and take out the pips.
Put it all through a blender with the cooked juice and make up a thin semolina-like, quite soupy mixture. I sometimes put this through a fine sieve if it looks to rough or if there are impurities.
Mix the sugar and the eggs and beat on high speed until creamy.
Add the ground almond and the bicarbonate. Add the lemon purée.
Set into 6 to 8 small “dariole” moulds or one shallow tin.
Bake in the oven at 180º for 30 to 35 minutes and serve at room temperature, inside the pans.
It will raise a little and produce an intensely lemony creamy pudding. You can also try this with clementines or thin-skinned oranges.
Serve a warm, sweet mint tea with this to transport you right back in Marrakech…
WHAT TO DO IN MARRAKECH:
Go and spend a night in the desert and experience the beautiful skies of Africa at La Pause,30 km out of Marrakech,just before the village of Agafay. Have a memorable beef “tagine”, under a low hanging Touareg tent, served by candlelight.
Dine with a view over the lit Koutoubia tower in the Café Arabe, near the Mouassine Mosk in the medina.
Go for a drink at the Mamounia hotel and have a stroll in the beautiful gardens of Churchill’s favourite hotel.
Visit the delightful Musée de la Palmeraie, route de Fés, and explore the Andalous garden, the cacti garden and the water garden with its little hut in pisé (a traditional mud and grass building), then admire the contemporary art in the galleries that lead from one part to another. This museum is a little out of the beaten track but worth the visit for its soothing calm and the absence of tourists…
Lunch above the shops after browsing the souks by climbing to La Terrasse des Epices. Mist is sprayed around the arab-style shaded eating areas and the cool bar has a view over the old markets. Later get tempted by the beautiful craft sold all around the maze-shaped alleys. Everything looked tantalising to me…