Spoon sweets are a big thing in Greece.
You will find them in every house, every kitchen in the country. Every Greek woman knows how to make them, it is as if it is in the genes!
You can use fruit (almost every kind, I cannot think of one that is not suitable!), vegetables (some kinds, not ripe) and even flowers and nuts. Can you imagine the smell of lemon tree flowers spoon sweet? It is heaven!
And I know that vegetables may sound strange but unripe courgettes, eggplants, pumpkins, carrots and green tomatos.
Or chestnuts, walnuts unripe in their green shells, pistachios (this is produced in Aigina), you name it...
I make really often, depending on what I have in my fridge. This time I was given a lot of oranges, so an orange spoon sweet was in order!
It is a rather long process, but it is so worth it. The semi sweet/semi bitter taste is amazing!
Orange Spoon Sweet
recipe by Sofia Skoura "Νέα Ελληνική Κουζίνα" (new Greek cuisine)
5 Merlin oranges, preferably with thick skin
1250gr white granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Wash the oranges and scrape their skin here and there.
Fill a very large pot with water and boil the oranges for about 2 hours, until they are soft. Make sure there is always water in the pot.
Strain them and put them in a pot with cold water. Change the water every couple of hours, for about 8 hours total.
This while process will take some of the bitterness away.
Cut each orange in half, again in half, then in half once more (see the pictures for how the final pieces should be). This size is handleable and can fit in a jar better.
Try to remove some of the membrane with a very sharp knife, but you don't have to be very accurate!
Put the orange pieces on a large platter and sprinkle them with some sugar. Leave them overnight.
In a large pot put the rest of the sugar and any juice that has come out of the oranges. Add one cup of water and mix it until the sugar is dissolved. If you need to, add some more water, so that it boils to a thick syrup.
Remove from the stove and let it cool. Put the oranges in.
Boil again until the syrup and the oranges are "one". What I mean is that they must look homogeneous, the syrup should not separate and be thick around the oranges.
While the sweet boils, remove any foams and add the lemon juice.
Remove from the stove and add the vanilla.
Let it cool and then put it in sterilised jars.