Monday, December 21, 2009

Candied Orange Peel

As much as I enjoyed the last candied peel recipe, I couldn't help but wonder what I could do to make them even better. I thought it would be nice to have the peels less crinkly/curly and more substantial, maybe with more chewiness to them. Back to the internet I went. I came across a woman on egullet (a truly fabulous foodie resource if there ever was one) who seemed to know everything about all manner of candying citrus peels. Her recipe was markedly different than the one I originally followed and was done in the microwave.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/89439-candied-citrus-peel-the-topic/

There is a wealth of information in that thread. People were candying kumquats, Buddha's Hand, galangal (the latter two I had to look up) and now I'm cursing myself for not buying that five dollar Buddha's Hand we found at Whole Foods last week! Though it's not like I wouldn't make another two and a half hour trip if I really wanted one. There are a lot of reasons to visit Northampton, MA and if I can score chicken tamales and pork tacos from La Veracruzana, a Buddha's Hand and a trip to Trader Joe's then I'd say it's a trip worth taking. Although, perhaps I should check the weather this time and try to avoid a "wintry mix" forecast.

On to the candy...

I decided to do a small batch since it was my first attempt at this style of candying citrus and I didn't want to waste fruit. All I had in the house at the time were two non organic Cara Cara oranges (I'm trying not to think about the pesticides I have been consuming...) and I washed those as well as possible.

~Cut the top and bottom off your citrus. From here make vertical cuts all along the fruit and then carefully pull the fruit (pith and all) from the flesh. Cut the peel into 1/2 inch slices.



~Placed the orange peel in a microwave safe bowl (I used a 2.5 quart Pyrex) and cover with water. Boil on high for 10 minutes

~Drain the peels and repeat with fresh water.

~Drain the peels and repeat with fresh water.

~Taste. Is the bitterness mostly gone? If not, repeat until the peels are to your liking. I personally feel like it should have a slightly bitter edge. Slightly.

~Drain the peels and mix 1 cup sugar with 1 1/2 to 2 cups water. Boil on high for 3 minutes. Stir to mix.

~Add the orange peels to the simple syrup and microwave 5 minutes. Stir.

~Microwave 5 more minutes. Stir.

~Let the peels cool in the syrup for 30 minutes

~Microwave the peels in the syrup for 5 more minutes. Stir.

~Microwave 5 more minutes. Stir. Taste a piece. The pith should be completely translucent by this time.

~Remove the pieces to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch drips.



~Allow the peel to dry until it's only slightly tacky to the touch and then toss a few pieces at a time in sugar.

After it was completely dried and sugared I tasted a piece and found it to be a little too bitter for my tastes. I decided to dip the pieces in chocolate to offset some of the bitterness. I wanted the peels to be completely dry for that step so I left them on a rack on my kitchen counter for 24 hours. At that point I tempered some dark chocolate and dipped one piece at a time, leaving the ends uncovered for easier grabbing. Once the chocolate was set I took another taste and this time I loved it. The chocolate did exactly what I wanted it to, the orange was less bitter tasting and the chocolate added an intriguing dark and slightly smoky quality to the confection. Definitely a candy for grown ups although my teenage brother enjoyed some. I think they would make beautiful gifts for your discerning foodie friends.

3 comments:

  1. They look spectacular! Send some over here...

    Have you ever made preserved lemons? I was thinking about trying it, but I don't know anyone who's ever done it and want to see if it's worth my time!

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  2. @wendalicious I haven't tried to make preserved lemons because I'm not sure what to eat them with.

    The only other thing with lemons that's been on my list for a while is limoncello! I need to get my hands on a whole mess of really good, organic lemons and try that one of these days.

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