Candied Citrus Peel
Yield: 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
Tips: Sometime during childhood, everyone bites into
a citrus peel, and they are quite bitter; who came up with the
idea of boiling the rind in repeated changes of water, then
in a sugar syrup, to make it palatable? I have no idea, but
I do know the peel loses just enough of its bitterness after
such cooking to result in a beautiful, sweet-tart flavor. After
being allowed to dry, the peel is dipped into bittersweet chocolate.
The finished strips will keep at cool room temperature or in
the fridge for weeks, if stored airtight. This is a lovely,
old-fashioned sweet, and very nice for the holidays.
Patience and time are required to make these, and you'll need
a candy thermometer. Most recipes I've seen suggest cooking
the peel in a sugar syrup until only a few spoonfuls of the
syrup are left, but that's not very specific, and it's too easy
to overcook or undercook the peel. I found one recipe that specified
cooking the peel until the syrup reached a certain temperature,
but there wasn't enough syrup left to register on a candy thermometer
when I tried this. Finally, I increased the quantity of syrup,
and used a candy thermometer. The cooking time was increased,
but I've had great results since.
The recipe following is for orange peel; if you'd like to use
lemon peel or grapefruit peel, see the Notes below. Tangerine
peel would probably also work here. I have read that you can
candy lime rind, and I thought this would look festive and pretty,
but when I boiled the peel in water for the initial cooking,
the nice bright green of the limes faded out, and the remaining
color was unappealing. With that exception, this candied peel
makes a nice gift.
About 5 cups plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
Tablespoons light corn syrup
pound best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
(semisweet chocolate can be substituted)
Tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
Rinse and dry the oranges. If necessary, slice a thin slice
from each end. Cut each orange into quarters. Most books I have
seen tell you merely to remove the pulp with a spoon, but that
isn't so easy at this stage. I cut out what I can with a small,
sharp, serrated knife; any remaining pulp will scrape off easily
after boiling. Do not cut into the peel if you can help it.
Do not use just the zest from the outside of the peel; it is
too thin to candy well.
Place the quartered peel sections into a heavy-bottomed, nonreactive
three-quart pot. Add enough../../../archive/html/index.shtml Bring to a boil; keep at a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Drain
well. Float generously with fresh cold water; bring to a boil
again. Boil gently for 15 minutes. Drain, then rinse thoroughly
with fresh cold water. Peel should be soft at this stage; if
you cannot pierce it easily with the tip of a sharp knife, cover
with fresh cold water, bring to another boil, and boil gently
until you can do so, then drain and rinse well. Let cool until
you can handle it.
With a teaspoon, gently scrape off any remaining pulp and pith
from the inside of the peel. Ideally, the scraped peel should
be about 1/8-inch thick, but if it's a bit thicker that's OK.
With kitchen shears, snip the peel into strips that are 1/4-inch
wide; you'll have some long strips and some shorter pieces.
Clip a candy thermometer onto the sides of a 2 1/2 quart, heavy-bottomed,
nonreactive pot so that the bulb rests just above the bottom.
Remove thermometer. In the pot, combine 2 1/2 cups fresh cold
water, 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar (reserve remainder), and
corn syrup. With large spoon, stir over medium-high heat to
dissolve sugar completely. With a pastry brush dipped into cold
water, wash down the pot sides once or twice. When the syrup
boils, add the strips of peel; the strips will float on top
of the syrup.
Adjust heat so syrup boils moderately; introduce thermometer
into pot. Boil the strips, stirring occasionally, until syrup
registers 230°F on candy thermometer. As the amount of syrup
diminishes, you must stir the strips more frequently. Watch
carefully as syrup diminishes. This step usually takes me one
to two hours, but there are many factors involved, including
While the peel candies, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Using a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the
remaining 3 cups of sugar until texture of grains is very fine.
Spread about two cups of this processed sugar onto the lined
cookie sheet in a thin layer (reserve remaining cup). Also have
ready two large cooling racks, each over a sheet of wax paper
on a flat surface, a large slotted spoon, and two tablespoons.
When the syrup registers 230°F, remove pot from heat. With slotted
spoon, lift peel from syrup, allowing excess syrup to drain
back into pot, and place peel onto sugar on lined cookie sheet
(you'll get some syrup into the sugar, too--OK). Some syrup
will be left in the pot--OK. When all peel is out of the pot,
sprinkle the reserved one cup of processed sugar on top of it.
With two spoons, begin to carefully toss and separate the strips.
Be careful! They are hot at first. When cool enough to handle,
use your fingers to separate the candied peel strips and coat
each one with processed sugar. If there are any moist lumps
of sugar on a strip, remove them. As you finish each strip,
place it on a cooling rack to dry. Allow finished strips to
dry on rack for several hours or overnight. Note: If you allow
the sugar is which you rolled the cooked peel to dry as well,
you can sift it through your fingers or a sieve to remove any
dried syrup, then re-use the sugar for a future batch of candied
peel. Store cooled candied peel airtight until dipped; if you
stack the strips in a container, sprinkle each layer with a
bit of granulated sugar, then cover with a piece of wax paper
before adding the next layer.
To dip in chocolate: Have ready two large cookie sheets, each
lined with foil or wax paper. In medium heatproof bowl, combine
finely chopped chocolate and shortening. Place over simmering
water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); stir
often until about three-quarters melted. Remove from heat and
hot water; dry bowl bottom and sides. Stir chocolate until completely
melted and smooth. Transfer melted chocolate to small bowl.
Cool until just slightly warm; if the chocolate is too warm,
it will be thin, and you'll get big puddles of chocolate forming
at the base of each piece of rind. That's not a tragedy, but
it doesn't look as attractive and you might not have enough
chocolate to cover all the strips.
Pick up a strip of peel and shake off any excess sugar. Place
the strip into the melted chocolate. With a fork, push under
to cover completely with chocolate. Pick up on fork tines (do
not spear on tines!), and allow any excess chocolate to drip
back into bowl. Gently shake fork up-and-down and side-to-side
to facilitate this process. Gently slide dipped strip onto lined
cookie sheet. Repeat with other strips; do not allow freshly-dipped
strips to touch (if this happens, ease them apart gently with
a fork). When one cookie sheet is filled up, place it in the
refrigerator so chocolate can set.
As you continue dipping the strips, the chocolate will continue
to cool. If it becomes too thick, place over simmering water
again for just a short time, stirring frequently, until melted
again (if necessary, cool until just slightly warm). As you
use up the chocolate, transfer it a couple of times into increasingly
smaller bowls. Do not try to use up the last little bit of chocolate
(if you don't use all of the small bits of candied rind you'll
have, you can dip them into the last of the chocolate for yourself!).
When chocolate is set and firm on candied rind, remove cookie
sheets from refrigerator. Use a piece of tissue or paper towel
to peel the chocolate-dipped rind from the lined sheet (if you
use your fingers, they might leave marks or smudges). Place
into container (stacking them is OK); store airtight in refrigerator
or at cool room temperature.
--If you only want to dip half of each strip into chocolate,
use 8 ounces of chocolate and 1 tablespoon of solid vegetable
shortening, and expect a yield about eight ounces less. Some
people think these half-dipped strips are prettier. You can
dip strips this way by picking each one up with your fingers,
shaking off excess sugar, dipping it into the chocolate about
halfway, then scraping off excess chocolate on the edge of the
--To substitute another citrus for the oranges here, use 2 large
grapefruit or 5 to 6 large lemons. You can use regular grapefruit,
but I like to use ruby red; the candied peel is a beautiful
color. Cut the grapefruit into eight sections each before removing
the fruit from the peel. Lemons should be cut into quarters
the long way. Because these fruits' peels are more bitter than
orange peel, they'll need three changes of water. Start these
peels in a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pot. Float them
generously with cold water and bring to a boil as above. Boil
5 minutes, then drain and rinse. Bring to a boil with fresh
cold water; boil 5 minutes, then drain and rinse. Again, boil
in fresh cold water until peel is very soft and easily pierced
with a knife tip, 15 to 30 minutes. Proceed as above.
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