Friday, November 25, 2011

Candied Citrus Peel and Orange Lavender Syrup

Candied Orange Peel

Here is a great gift idea for the foodie in your life; candied citrus peel.  This confection is quite simple to make, turning something that often ends up in the compost into a sparkling culinary delight that is wonderful to use baking or to nibble on.

When choosing fruit get fruit with thicker skin that is heavy for its size.  For this recipe I used organic oranges which I washed before processing.  (Any citrus fruit works; lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerines, etc.)

Don't toss that peel, make candy!

Using a citrus peeler score the peel to form eight strips.  I found scoring the peel into eight strips works very well as they peel off the fruit easily without tearing and it was the best size for shaving off the membrane for the same reason.  This process a bit labor intensive but very worth the effort.

Tools that make this easy.
Citrus peeler and a sharp knife

To remove the membrane, lay the strips of peel, membrane side up.  Holding down one end, lay the knife blade down sideways and run it between the membrane and zest or outer layer.  This is why you need the sharp knife.  Take your time or you will tear the strips. 

By the way, I was making this after the huge task of making our Thanksgiving meal and found this portion of the process very quieting and refreshing to my soul...its funny how that can happen.

The white membrane is bitter so I cut it away.

Place the citrus peel in a medium sauce pan with enough water to cover.  Heat to a strong simmer and cook for 10 minutes to blanch the peel.  Drain off the water. 

Some recipes called for repeating the blanching process but these recipes also did not remove the bitter membrane and it seemed to be only to mitigate the bitterness.  Since I had cut away the membrane I chose not too repeat it and it worked fine.

Add to the peelings in the pan, 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.  Simmer for 1 HOUR. You MUST watch the pan and stir it occasionally, scrapping the edges.  You want to avoid the pan simmering dry and the sugar from burning along the edges of the pan.

The peels will become transparent as they cook and after an hour there should still be some liquid in the pan, with sugar crusting along the sides some.  One recipe I read said to only cook until the peel was transparent but I found that if you cook them longer the sugar coats the peel better.

As pretty as glistening stained glass
only edible too!

Drain the syrup off the fruit and line them out on a lightly oiled backing cooling rack and dusted the tops of the citrus peel with Baker's Sugar and let them dry for several hours uncovered.  Instead of straining the liquid off, which was now infused with orange essence, I used small tongs and lifted the peels out, saving the syrup to make Lavender Orange Syrup (recipe below).

Place dried pieces in a bowl of Baker's Sugar
Stir to coat completely
Cover work surface with parchement or wax paper
Place dusted peel on the paper to catch excess sugar
Just too pretty to hide away.

It's best to keep the batches small so you have more control over the final product and also to avoid burning the sugar.  Again, take your time, enjoy the process.  For me this time was a great time to get some small tasks around the kitchen done, like cleaning out a drawer and loading the dishwasher.

As promised here is the Lavender Orange Syrup recipe.  Stir in 1 tablespoon lavender flowers into the remaining liquid and put it back on the heat, stirring often until it began to boil.  Once it boils remove it immediately and set it aside to cool for about 10 minutes and then strain it through a fine wire mesh sieve for later use in tea or on ice cream.


Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks
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  1. Excellent post, guess what? I Pinned it, LOL

  2. Wow, Great post, Patty!

    Thanks, I'll be making these!