Not exactly a dessert but these wonderful tangy little strips of crystallized citrus peel are simply divine served as a nibble with an espresso, or perhaps chopped and sprinkled onto cupcake frosting – or folded into cake and pancake batter – and if I fancy a taste of intense sweet citrus, I’ll eat them straight from the jar.
You can also dunk them into melted chocolate which makes them more official-looking as candy. To melt chocolate properly, click here for directions and while you’re at it, they’d be wonderful chopped up and added to the chocolate hazelnut fudge fingers recipe in this link.
Unlike the old ‘Good Housekeeping’ method that our grandmothers probably used, you don’t need to allocate several days to the process but still, this is one of those recipes that’s best saved for when you have a lazy evening at home in front of the TV as it takes a couple of hours. However, once you’ve got the first part out of the way, all you need to do is stir the peel a bit every 30 minutes or so.
They’re very, very simple to make and candied citrus peels with keep for 3 months stored in an airtight jar at room temp.
Lemons, oranges and grapefruit are best for this recipe. Kumquats would also be wonderful but fiddly to prepare due to their size.
Candied citrus peels make an impressive gift.
CANDIED CITRUS PEEL
(Makes enough to fill an 18 oz / 510ml jar)
2 large oranges
2 fine-skinned lemons
1 pink grapefruit
2 1/2 cups of sugar plus extra for finishing
Wash the fruit, then start by scoring and removing the peel in quarters. Slice the quartered peels into strips about 1/3 inch wide (use the flesh of the fruit for something else).
Using a potato peeler or sharp knife, remove the excess white pith then put the strips in a large heavy saucepan. Cover the peels with water and bring to a rapid boil.
Immediately drain the peels in a strainer, discarding the water; repeat this process twice more.
While the peels are draining for the last time, dissolve 2 1/2 cups (260ml measure) of sugar in 2 1/2 cups of water, stirring over a medium heat until all the sugar crystals have completely dissolved.
Add the peels to the sugar syrup, bring them to a boil then lower to a simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until they’re translucent, stirring gently every 30 minutes or so.
Allow the peels to cool in the syrup then drain once more. Use the syrup for something else if you like but I discard it.
Spread the drained peels onto a rack set over a parchment-lined baking tray. Leave them overnight to drain and dry out a bit.
The next day, toss the peels (they’ll remain quite sticky) in sugar until they have a nice crystalline coating.
This is the point where you’ll dunk them in melted chocolate if that’s what you’re aiming for. Just dunk half of each peel and allow them to set on a parchment-lined baking tray.
They’re quite wonderful!