Sunday, 23 December 2012

Candied Citrus Peel

This Christmas I have been experimenting! With candy making. I love baking (duh) and have been doing it my whole life. However, the whole candy making thing is very foreign, slightly terrifying, and extensively exciting to me. I find it rather mysterious... if that is not weird  And something that I would like to get better at. So far my candy making adventures have come in the form of marshmallows, and chocolate truffles (coming soon)... and today's treat: Candied Citrus Peel!

There was a recipe for Christmas cookies (also coming soon) that I have been eager to make, and as part of the ingredient list it calls for candied lemon peel, and candied orange peel. Yes, you can indeed trot off to the store and buy some pre-maid... but where is the fun, I ask? I have always wanted to try making my own anyways, so it seemed like an appropriate time. 

You can use this recipe for any type of citrus fruit. I have tried it with lemon and orange so far, but I think it would be really interesting to try lime and/or grapefruit... Keep in mind that you should not mix the fruits, because the resulting flavour would be wack (but this is an assumption). Making candied peel is an excellent use for something that you would otherwise throw away! I am a fan of the idea of not letting anything go to waste.

Candied Citrus Peel
Recipe inspired by and adapted from Food Coma and Smitten Kitchen

You will need:
  • citrus fruit of your choosing (I found it easy to use about 3 at a time)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (plus more for blanching)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

There is a reason why we do not eat the peels normally. They are gross and bitter! But by blanching the peels three times in boiling water, changing the water each time, the bitterness will happily boil away.

So, fill a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Whilst waiting for the water to boil, you can prep the peels for blanching. The easiest way to do this I found was to cut a small piece off of the top and bottom of the fruit. Then, cut long strips from the top to the bottom. Be careful to only cut the peel and not too far into the fruit, otherwise resulting in frustration when you try and separate the two. Not that I know what that feels like...
Peel away the peel from the flesh of the fruit.

Once the water has boiled, place the peel slices in the water and blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse, then repeat this process but with fresh boiling water. TIP! If you can, have two pots going at a time so you dont waste time waiting for the water to boil. It's Christmas. We are busy. We do not have time to watch water boil. Once the fruit has been blanched three times, it is time for the candy-ing part!

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, boil together equal parts water and sugar to make a simple syrup. I found for working with three fruits at a time, 1 1/2 cups of each worked well.

When the Sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup is bubbling and boiling, add the peels. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and leave the peels to simmer for about 1 hour. Stir the peels every so often.

After an hour, use a slotted spoon to remove the peels from the syrup and leave to cool on a wire rack.

At this stage, there are a few options for the future of your peels. As I was just going to use them inside cookie batter, I left them as is and kept them in an airtight container in my fridge. You could go the Food Coma route and roll them in sugar, or you could go the Smitten Kitchen route and dip them in dark chocolate (Oh yes, I think that is what will happen with the leftovers).

I think a cute little package of chocolate dipped homemade candied peel would make a darling gift for friends and neighbors this Christmas!

Happy Candying!

<3 Lari

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