I know I hinted at the promise of Earl’s cake last week. Spoiler alert: it’s coming. But I wanted to get all my cyberspace mis en place together. Which means I first need to talk candied citrus peels.
These peels came to me by way of Martha Stewart. I am like Martha Stewart in the same way that I imagine making bûche de noël is like opening up a box of Little Debbie Christmas tree snack cakes. That is, not at all.
I have never made a glitter skull candelabra, nor have I ever felt the desire to sew red homemade felt slippers. I have not had the opportunity to craft a nativity set from jail, either. Should you be wondering.
We do seem to share a common bond with our love of candied fruit. And candied fruit counts for something. In fact, today it counts for a lot. Because you can use it in Earl’s Cake or as a last minute gift, if you are a bit behind in the Christmas gifting department.
It’s a fairly simple process if you have a few citrus fruits and a sack of sugar lying around. And while you could worry about doing this process multiple times, with separate batches of citrus, I did not have the time or temperament for this.
So I threw orange peels, lemon peels, and even half a grapefruit peel into the same pot. Blanched them twice. And did not feel the need to swear once. Success.
They don’t glitter like a skull candelabra might, but they do come off looking like little citrus jewels. And they make lovely presents, especially for any bakers on your “nice” list this year.
Candied Assorted Citrus Peels
Adapted from Martha Stewart
½ grapefruit (optional)
4 cups of sugar, plus more for rolling
4 cups of water
Using a knife, make six slits going from the top to the bottom of each citrus fruit (so that you will have six separate pieces of peel per fruit); cut through the peel with each slit but do not cut into the fruit. Using your fingers, gently remove the peel and reserve the fruit for another use. Using a sharp knife, remove any excess pith from each piece, like you are filleting a fish (I ended up taking off most of the white). Slice each piece into ¼ inch strips. (You’ll want them to be the same size so that they cook evenly.)
Place the strips into a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then drain off the liquid. Repeat this process.
Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. (Once the sugar dissolves stop stirring.) Bring the sugar water to a boil. Add the citrus strips to the boiling liquid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the mixture gently for about an hour until the strips are translucent (this took me about 90 minutes). (You can stir occasionally, as needed.)
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool about 20-30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop up the peels and place them on a wire rack set over your kitchen sink (or over a clean sheet pan) to let the excess syrup drip off.
Place some sugar on a clean sheet pan and roll the strips into the syrup. Let the strips dry for 30-60 minutes (you can leave them in the sheet pan or place them on a clean wire rack).
Store in an airtight container.
Makes 3-4 cups
-I used the grapefruit because I was craving a little bitterness. Feel free to leave it off. If you would like to make only one type of citrus peel do 2 grapefruits, 3 oranges, or 4 lemons.
-I recommend gifting the citrus peels in WECK jars.
-Martha notes to hold off on the final sugaring if you are baking with these citrus peels. However, the candied fruit in Earl’s cake sparkled like a diamond; I wanted to recreate this. Also, I just like the look of sugared candied fruit. (This, of course, will make what you bake a bit sweeter, so keep this in mind.)