Friday, April 10, 2009

Candied Orange Peel

This was the first time I had ever made a candied citrus peel. It was fairly simple and quite fun. I made two batches - one with brown sugar and one with white. I made these to go in the Honey Beescotti - the first recipe that the Sweet Melissa Sundays bakers are doing. It was supposed to be posted last Sunday, but I didn't have my cookbook yet, so I'm a little tardy with this recipe... Anyway, it calls for candied orange peel. Many of the bakers made their own, so I decided to do the same. I made the brown sugar batch because I was anxious to try it out, and realized too late that I was out of white sugar. However, it came out with a beautiful amber color that I think will add a lot to the look of the biscotti. I'll post that tomorrow. Many of the bakers felt that the process of preparing the orange peels to be candied was quite time consuming and messy, so I came up with a technique that was easy and tidy. 

Candied Orange Peel
adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

1 navel orange
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Wash orange thoroughly and dry with towel. Slice a small disc of peel off of each end of the orange - about 3/4 inch in diameter. With a small, sharp knife, score the orange from end to end, leaving about 3/4 an inch between cuts. Don't go too deep, or you will cut into the meat of the orange, and the process won't be quite so easy... Once you have gone all the way around the orange, slide your finger under each slice to remove it from the orange. After all slices are removed, your orange should be intact. Don't worry if there is a lot of pith, the recipe takes steps to temper its bitterness. Cut slices lengthwise so that they are about 1/4 inch wide. In a small saucepan, place about 1 1/2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Add orange slices. Cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Repeat with fresh water. This blanching removes the bitterness from the pith. Once the process has been completed twice, place the 3/4 cup of water and the sugar in the saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to a boil. Add orange slices, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. 

Turn heat to low, remove orange pieces from syrup with tongs, let excess syrup drip off, and place on parchment paper to cool. When cool, lightly toss in sugar and place back on parchment. Leave uncovered to dry for 2 days. I found that the sugar syrup formed a very hard coating when the pieces were immediately removed, but after being coated in sugar and sitting for many hours, they become wonderfully chewy.

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