I've been cooking clementines for the Clementine Cake and the skin on the clementines has split halfway through the cooking time. Should I remove them from the water or not worry and keep boiling?
Nigella's Clementine Cake (from HOW TO EAT) is a gluten-free cake made with clementines and ground almonds (almond meal). The clementines are boiled whole until soft and then blitzed to a puree, including all of the skin and pith.
The weight of clementines is approximately 375g, which should be approximately 4 medium-sized clementines though the size of fruits does vary. If your fruits are particularly small then the cooking time may be shorter and it could be that the clementines are already soft enough and have started to split. The clementines should be soft all of the way through and if this is the case then they should be removed from the pan immediately and used for the cake. If the clementines are still firm in the centre but have split then they could have been boiled too hard. This is a bit more tricky as if you continue to boil the clementines covered in water then they will become waterlogged. In this case we would suggest removing them from the pan and then continue cooking either by steaming them or by putting them in a microwaveable dish, covering them with clingfilm or a microwave cover (making sure there are steam holes in either case) and microwaving them in short bursts until completely cooked. If you have some clementines that have not split then make sure you prick the skins before microwaving. Cooking times will depend on how soft the clementines were before they were removed from the saucepan of water, so check regularly during cooking.