You’ve probably bought candied citrus for a recipe once or twice, but have you ever made your own? It’s not remotely the same thing: like how the movie is never as good as the book.
Due to a small, but delightful, snafu I recently made candied citrus peel when I couldn’t find it in the store. Chef Traci and I wanted to test a traditional English plum pudding recipe and while gathering the ingredients discovered it’s difficult to find suet, citron, and candied peel. In the end we decided to forgo the English fruit cake and make my own grandmother’s cranberry pudding, which has a much shorter ingredient list. We grow a lot of cranberries here in Washington state and because the less bitter Grayland cranberries are available to us, it seems a natural choice. More on that in another post, we’re here to talk about my delicious experience with candied peel!
I got a recipe from the BBC because I liked the photo they used (I know you bought a bottle of wine at some point because you liked the label, it happens). I added grapefruit because it adds a little more bitterness to the mix, but to me that’s part of what’s so delicious about citrus peel. As an added bonus, there are now three quarts of a citrus simple syrup in the fridge and I’m mulling over how to use it in a cocktail. Bourbon will definitely be a component, although gin is a strong contender.
Candied Citrus Peel
- 4 large oranges, or 2 oranges and 2 lemons (I used 2 oranges, 2 lemons, and 2 grapefruit)
- granulated sugar
- 100g bar of dark chocolate, optional
- Cut the fruit into 8 wedges, then cut out the flesh, leaving about 5mm thickness of peel and pith.
- Cut each wedge into 3-4 strips.
- Put the peel in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins.
- Drain, return to the pan and re-cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins.
- Set a sieve over a bowl and drain the peel, reserving the cooking water.
- Add 100g sugar to each 100ml water you have. Pour into a pan and gently heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the peel and simmer for 30 mins until the peel is translucent and soft. Leave to cool in the syrup.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and arrange in 1 layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Put in the oven at 185℉ for 30 mins to dry.
- Sprinkle a layer of sugar over a sheet of baking parchment. Toss the strips of peel in the sugar, a few at a time, then spread out and leave for 1 hr or so to air-dry.
- Pack the peel into an airtight storage jar or rigid container lined with baking parchment. Will keep for 6-8 weeks in a cool, dry place.
- To make into a delicious gift, melt the chocolate in a small bowl. Dip the candied orange peel into the chocolate to half-coat them, shaking off the excess. Put them on baking parchment to set, then pack into small cellophane bags tied with ribbon or pretty kitchen string.