Candying citrus peel – those slim tart, sweet chewy delights – takes three or four or more days. I’m sure there are other recipes that might speed up the process, and I’ve tried a lot of them, but to really do it right, it takes awhile. I realize some of you have turned away already, but stick with me, because this is the perfect holiday treat to make during the week. It’s a few minutes here and there. That’s it.
I bought a giant bag of organic pink grapefruit with the intention of candying strips of peel, then dipping some of them in bittersweet chocolate. These treats are fabulous at the end of a dinner party or mid-afternoon with an espresso. Chopped up, candied citrus rind is a wonderful addition to biscotti, muffins or coffee cake. Try it stirred into yogurt or sprinkled over ice cream. Anytime a recipe calls for candied ginger, why not substitute candied lemon peel or orange rind. My personal favorite has always been grapefruit. Until yesterday, that is.
I love the fact that this big effort make enough candy to last through the holiday and on to Valentine’s Day. Citrus peel has a very long shelf life, which is why I make it first when I set out to make my holiday sweets.
3 ruby grapefruit
OR 6 lemons or Meyer lemons
OR 4 navel oranges
Start by washing your citrus really well. Cut the ends off, quarter and peel, leaving pith behind. Slice the peel into triangles or strips. Make the pieces the same size/shape so they will cook evenly.
You’ll need a very heavy bottomed pot and a candy thermometer. LeCreuset or a preserving pan. Bring 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water to a boil. Bring the syrup to 220°.
Bring the syrup and peel to a boil again, bringing the temperature to 226°. Turn off the heat and leave the peel for another 12 hours, more absorbing.
One more time, bring the syrup and peel to 228°. Turn off the heat and leave it for 12 hours.
Finally, put the pot on the heat and as soon as it’s all melted and liquid, place the pieces of peel on a rack (place this over a baking sheet lined with parchment) and allow the peel to dry for 2-3 days.
And for those of you who wanted a recipe for salted caramels, I couldn’t possibly do a better job than my friend, Mary Reilly (Food52′s SavoryKitchen and soon to be opening Enzo Restaurant in Newburyport, MA. Check out this video she made with How-To-Heroes.