The Taste of Portugal
SETÚBAL REGION, SOUTH OF LISBON
Makes about 24.
These sweets originate from the Setubal area, where oranges grow. Make the laranjinhas a few days before they are to be served, to get firmer (see opposite).
Cut the carrots in half – not in small pieces, so they do not absorb too much water. Boil the carrots with the orange peel (with all its pith, to avoid too much bitterness), until tender. Drain very thoroughly and dry again in a clean cloth. Mash and sieve. Bring the sugar to the boil for 2-3 minutes with 2 tablespoons water, until thick (see the ‘pearl stage’, p.32). Add the puree. Boil again, stirring with a wooden spoon. Allow the mixture to dry, without burning (this needs a really low flame throughout and a very watchful eye). Spread the resulting paste on a plate and leave until completely cold. Shape small balls 2.5 cm/1 inch in diameter. Roll them in sugar and place in paper cases. Leave them untouched to dry, for 2 or 3 days. You can make these little oranges more realistic by sticking a small stem and leaf on top.