Soft and slightly runny and sweetly orangey without the big chunks of peel.
Wash and zest the mandarins – I like using a Microplane grated to do this; it’s nice and sharp, and you can get the orange part off while leaving the white pith underneath.
Set the zest aside and peel the oranges, then chop the flesh, working over a bowl or on a chopping board with a gutter to catch the juices. Pick out the seeds and put the chopped fruit into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until not quite smooth.
Combine the puree, zest, sugar and lemon juice in a large, heavy saucepan or small pot, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally to make sure it’s not burning on the bottom, for about half an hour. Test by dropping a small spoonful on a chilled saucer – when you poke it with your finger, it should wrinkle.
Divide into jars or freezer containers and refrigerate for up to a month, or freeze for up to 4 months.
To festive it up even more, add a handful of fresh or frozen cranberries as it simmers, and up the sugar to 3 cups. - Julie Van Rosendaal