Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Recipe for Candied Citrus Peel

Candied Orange Peel
For some reason, making candied citrus peel has always felt a bit mysterious to me. Maybe it’s the slight trepidation of sugar syrups and thermometers. Mostly, though, I perceived that I never had enough time to make it. What I discovered is that it’s neither fussy nor time consuming.

If you purchase organic citrus, then you know the sizable price difference from conventional fruit. Making candy from the leftover peel becomes a sweet little bonus.

You can use the candy in a myriad of ways, though it’s nice simply for nibbling with a cup of tea or espresso. It can be added to baked goods — such as the rolls I made for January #baketogether — or for fruitcake, cookies, and pannetone. Diced into confetti, it makes a pretty garnish. Candied peel is fabulous dipped in dark chocolate, but then what isn’t good with a chocolate coating?

Recipes abound in books and online. Here’s one from Deborah Madison. In Local Flavors she  recommends this recipe for anyone who seems pressed for time because the cooking process can be interrupted if need be.

Candied Citrus Peel for Busy People
Adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

Orange is a classic choice, but other varieties of citrus work well, too, such as grapefruit or pummelo. I loosely followed this recipe, omitting the sugar coating and forgetting the corn syrup.

Peels from 2 organic grapefruit, 3 organic oranges or 1 pummelo
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light cornsyrup
1 cup superfine sugar for coating

Put the peels in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil for one minute. Drain the peel then cover with more water. Place a heavy plate on top of the peel to keep it submerged. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Leave the peels in the water until it has cooled (or overnight). Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the white pith from peel.

Place sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, then add the peel. Cook slowly until the peel looks translucent and the liquid has almost boiled away (about 1 hour). (At any time during this process, you can turn off the heat and just let the peels soak in the syrup.) Transfer the peel to a rack set over a tray to catch any drips.

Toss a few pieces of peel in the sugar, then put them on a rack to dry for one hour. Pack in a container between pieces of waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator.

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