I love Christmas, and I welcome it by making a bittersweet and heavenly fruit salad with clementines.
The scent of clementines is Christmas to me
My mother always put clementine peel on the stove filling our home with our own incense. Clementines were a staple in our fruit basket at this time of the year and at Christmas tree parties (juletrefest), where the kids always received paper cones with clementines and candy.
In Norway a common dessert is a fruit salad called heavenly stew (himmelsk lapskaus). This dessert, with its small pieces of fruit, raisins and nuts, is the sweet counterpart to lapskaus – a traditional Norwegian stew consisting of diced vegetables and meat.
I make the fruit salad with apples, walnuts and the flavours and colours I associate with Christmas: clementines, oranges and cranberries.
Instead of plain syrup I use the juice from the citrus and reduces it into a syrup with a beautiful yellow colour. In order to make the syrup you need to segment the oranges. The syrup is flavoured with the bitterness of the orange zest and the tart sweetness of the cranberries. If you want to make the fruit salad more luxurious, it is never a failure to add half a vanilla bean.
Altogether the fruit salad challenges your senses – it is tart, sweet and bitter. Just like childhood.
Heavenly fruit salad with clementines (makes 3-4)
3 organic oranges
3 big apples
juice of 1/4 lime
2 tbsp sugar
½ vanilla bean (optional)
a handful dried cranberries
a handful walnuts
1. If you have a zester, make zest of two of the oranges. If not, peel one of the oranges (making sure you avoid the pit) and slice the peel thinly. Bring the zest to boil in a little water, and drain. Repeat three times. This process reduces the bitterness of the zest.
2. Segment the oranges, leaving the juice in a little pan and the segments in a bowl. The process of segmenting is more closely described in another post.
3. Squeeze the juice of one of the clementines and add to the pan with the orange juice. Peel the other clementines and cut big segments into two (like a butterfly).
4. Bring to boil the citrus juice (lime, clementine and oranges), zest and sugar. Add the seeds of the vanilla bean (optional). Boil until thickened into a thin sirup, about 10 minutes.
5. While the citrus syrup is boiling, peel and cut the apples into thin wedges. Place in the bowl with the citrus fruit.
6. When the syrup is done, add the cranberries and allow to cool.
7. Place the fruit on a plate (or serve in small jam jars) and add the syrup and walnuts. In Norway it seems like most people serve the salad with whipped cream or custard, but I think the best choice is vanilla ice cream.