Candied orange peel is the skin or peel of an orange that has been "preserved' in a sugar syrup.
It is a wonderful confection on its own but is also used as an ingredient in many baked goods.
Candied citrus peels are usually only available in stores during the Thanksgiving to Christmas season.
Now you can make them at home any time of year. Dip the candied peels in chocolate for an exceptional
treat to be served with coffee. You can also chop them up and use them in recipes such an panettone,
panforte, spumone, and many other Italian breads and desserts. Their tangy, bitter and sweet combination
also make them perfect for eating as a snack.
Although this recipe is made with orange peels this method will work with any combination of citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Citrus peel consists
of two main sections - the white bitter pith and the aromatic skin. The skin has oil glands that hold all the aroma and flavor of the citrus. So the peel is repeatedly
blanched in fresh hot water to gradually leech the bitterness from the pith without removing any of the aromatic oils from the skin. The skin is then slowly cooked in a
sugar syrup to saturate and preserve it. It will take a day or two for the peel to dry completely once candied. Once dry the peels will keep for a couple of months in an
airtight container. Candied peels can be rolled in granulated sugar for a crystallized effect. They can also be dipped partially or completely in melted chocolate. Once
the peels are dipped in chocolate, you can still store them for several weeks but the chocolate will lose its gloss in about a week.
Candied Orange Peel
4 thick skinned oranges
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar for rolling or 8 ounces dark or milk chocolate for dipping
Scrub the oranges well to remove any residue.
You can remove the peel in a few different ways:
Cut the orange into 4 to 8 wedges and pull the peel away from the flesh. If the
peel does not come off easily, use a spoon to scrape the flesh out, leaving a
clean pith. You can also use a sharp paring knife to get a clean, smooth pith.
Another method, is to cut the top and bottom off of the orange. Then score the
peel from top to bottom in 1 inch increments. Pull back the peel to remove.
Cut peel into 1/4 inch strips.
Place peels in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat on high until
water comes to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Drain the water. Repeat the cooking
procedure 2 more times. The repeated blanching helps to remove the bitter
taste from the orange peel and pith.
Combine sugar and water in the saucepan and bring to boil over high heat until
temperature reaches 230 degrees F. Add peel and reduce heat to simmer.
Simmer until peels are translucent, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove peels from
syrup and set on rack to dry for 4-5 hours. If you want to crystallize the peel,
sprinkle them with sugar before setting them on the rack to dry.
If the peels are still a little sticky after several hours, you can refrigerate them
to complete the drying process. Place them in a single layer in a plastic
storage container with parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.
Once the peel is completely
dry, you can dip them in the
chocolate. Melt the chocolate
in a microwave-safe bowl or
the top of a double boiler until
smooth. Dip the peel, one
piece at a time into the melted
chocolate to partially or
completely cover the peel.
Shake off excess chocolate, and place on foil or wax paper on a baking sheet
to dry. To speed up the drying time, place the chocolate peels in the
refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Store in layers in an airtight container with
waxed paper or parchment separately the layers. May be stored at room
temperature or refrigerated.