Friday, December 14, 2007
Snow Falling on Citrus
What else is there to do during a snow storm but cook? The French Toast Alert Level was on high, but I wanted to use the time to get ready for Christmas. With plenty of time on my hands, I went to town on candied citrus peel.
Start with fresh oranges or grapefruits (or lemon or lime with a thick rind). Cut them in half and gently remove the flesh, keeping the peel as whole as possible (rind cups are ideal). Put the cups in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Pour off water and repeat two to three more times (grapefruit needs at least four boils) until peels are tender. Set peels out to cool.
Slice rind into strips, roughly 1/3 inch wide. In a medium saucepan, make a simple syrup with a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. For 4 oranges or 3 grapefruit, I used 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. Stir over heat until sugar crystals are dissolved, then add peels (I kept each type separate so the flavors wouldn't mingle). Keep the peels at a low simmer until translucent, roughly 15-20 minutes. Stir only occasionally. When peels are done, pour off syrup (save for drinks!) and lay peels out separately on parchment paper so that they are not touching. Allow to cool and dry slightly, an hour or two.
In a food processor, pulse granulated sugar until texture is fine. When peels have dried so that they are only slightly tacky, roll each slice in fine sugar and lay back out to dry further. Let dry overnight before packaging in an air tight container.
This is great to give as gifts or added to other baked goods. There's just something so Christmas about candied orange peel!