I had the most amazing yet unconventional dessert on Naxos (See my previous post on the highlights of my time in Naxos).
After a lovely meal having grilled fish and an assortment of cold dips with bread, the lovely waiter at Meze Meze came by and placed a plate on our table saying “it’s on the house”.
“It’s Greek yogurt with our own carrot marmalade.” When he saw our incredulous looks, he laughed and said “Greeks love this. Try it.”
Whatever doubts I had about this dessert dissipated into thin air the moment I took a bite of this.
The only word I could manage was “Wow”.
It was the perfect dessert.
Yes, it has vegetables.
Yes, it may be breakfast food.
Yet at the same time it manages to tick the boxes of a good dessert. It was cold..creamy.. sweet yet refreshing at the same time and not too heavy after a meal.
I vowed to make this when I came back from my vacation. And I’m glad that I did. This carrot marmalade in its full glossy bright orange glory would convince even the carrot detractors.
Of course I had to have it with my own homemade Greek yogurt. While nothing can beat the fresh, thick Greek yogurt they have in Greece, I think I am happy enough with this little dessert that I’ve recreated.
And if you are still not convinced, this carrot marmalade can also replace your jams. And it is also a great accompaniment to scones (will share the receipe later).
Makes about three 450g jars
Recipe adapted from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
I reduced the amount of sugar ever so slightly and added more juice. I did not have nutmeg so I went without it. Also, I took a much longer time to cook down this marmalade than Hugh did (he advised 40 minutes). I think the best way to gauge is still by eye and by touch; you would best know when a jam is set.
1kg carrots, peeled and grated (coarsely, using the bigger hole of the grater box)
Finely grated rind and strained juice of 2 lemons
Finely grated rind and strained juice of 2 orange
850g granulated sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
900ml tap water
1. Put the grated carrots, juices, zest and sugar into a preserving pan, and stir. Tie the cinnamon and cloves into a small circle of muslin, tie with kitchen string and place in the middle of the carrots. Leave overnight to macerate. I place this in the fridge.
2. Add 900ml water and nutmeg (if using) into the pot of grated carrots and place onto the stove on medium high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to medium or medium low heat.
3. Cook until it reaches its setting point. The marmalade should have thickened and look glazed. I cooked it to about 104 degrees celcius. The gelling point for jams is about 103 – 105 degrees celcius (This is so for countries at sea level like Singapore. On a higher altitude, the gelling point temperature falls to range of 97 to 100 degrees celcius.)
4. You can test if your marmalade is set by spooning a dollop of it onto a cold plate that has been chilled in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Leave it for a minute or so before using your finger to run through the dollop of marmalade. It should wrinkle and not flood back onto itself.
5. Carefully fish out the spice bag. Leave the marmalade to cool just slightly for about 10 minutes so that it continues to thicken slightly and the grated carrots will be distributed more evenly through the marmalde. Pour into sterilised mason jars and seal when still hot. Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, store it in the refrigerator.
*To sterilise the glass jar, wash the jar and lid with hot water and soap. Rinse well and place the jar in a preheated oven at 160 degrees celcius for 15- 20 minutes or until dry.
Best way to eat this:
Greek yogurt with a big spoon of carrot marmalade!