One of my favorite dessert is candied orange skin dipped in dark chocolate. I call them my calming drug. No, matter how tired I am, give me couple or more of candied orange peel and I am a happy person.
I am, as always, amazed with our ancestor’s creativity. How they developed ways to use every last bit of oranges, grapefruit and lemons so that nothing went to waste. They would, of course, eat the oranges themselves. They would boil the seeds alone which then produced pectin which in turn thickens the orange marmalade they made. The skin to make the most delicious candy.
Do not confuse candied fruit with the dried fruit which is available in all stores. Dried fruit is just that-is dried either in the sun or in dehydrators, with some sugar added. But candied fruit is fruit that is boiled couple times for a half hour or so in a row sugar syrup so that the syrup is infused into every pore of the fruit. Think of soaking a sponge in water, and you will be able to see how candied fruit is made, although with syrup rather than water.
If done properly, one cannot tell the candied fruit from a piece of fresh fruit. In fact, in Spain, artists have used candied fruit as models in painting because it lasted longer than fresh fruit. That was good for slow aftists.
This technique, which originated in the Middle East, eventually made its way to Europe where the candied fruit has become a staple. Venice, Italy, is particularly famous for candied citrus skins, as is Spain. Amazingly, in Spain even egg yolks-called yema-are candied, which are found in every village in the country.
King Henry IV of Navarre loved candied orange skins and took them with him wherever he went. The story goes, that he took some with him to Madame D’ Etampes and realized that he had been preceded by Martial Brissac, who was hiding under the bed when Henry IV arrived. He spotted Brissac, for we all have a right to live.”
Candied Orange Peel
2 Naval oranges
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
-Peel the oranges and then, cut the peels into thin strips.
-Blanch the peels in boiling water.
-Transfer the strips to cool water and soak them for 24 hours, changing the water frequently. Drain them well and pat dry with a towel.
-Prepare the syrup by combining equal weights of sugar and water and bring to a boil. When the syrup begins to change color adds the peels and continue cooking for five minutes more.
-Remove from the heat and pour everything over a flat tray greased with almond oil.
-Separate the peels using a fork and allow them to cool completely.
-Use these candied peels alone or with any pastries. These peel can keep in tight jar for couple month.
1 pound Kumquats
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
-Wash and remove the stem from each kumquat.
-Using a sharp knife make a 1/4-inch long and 1/4-inch deep on the stem end of each kumquat.
-Fallow the same steps as in candied orange peel.
-Keep the kumquats with the syrup in a jar.