I probably have missed the holiday baking season, so perhaps in that respect this post is well overdue. But candied orange peel is so universal, that I think you will enjoy them all year round with the added bonus of ‘preserving’ the fruits early for fruitcake, mince pies and the like. Up till two years ago, I always use the store-bought version of candied peel. I never thought that it would be so easy to make at home. I think it was one of the daring bakers’ challenge which opened my eyes, and I have been making them ever since.
No wastage- especially if you freshly squeeze orange juice in the morning, the good news is you can now use the peel for gourmet gifts. Any citrus fruit can be candied. Although I personally prefer the taste of Jaffa oranges, I have made lemon, grapefruit and even clementine peels in the past. One occassion it was a ‘mixed peel’, with combination of all the above, they tasted great!
Making the peel involves few easy stages. Firstly, peel the fruits without the white skin. Then boil them in hot water for at least 20 minutes until they are soft. The final stage will be soaking these peels into hot sugar syrup and keep simmering until the sugar is thickened and glossy.
There are few tips that you must remember.
- Citrus fruit skin can be bitter, so they must be peeled without much of the white skin underneath.And always boil them until they are soft and tender. This also helps in removing the bitter taste of the peel.
- If you want to use the candied peel for baking, I suggest keeping more of the sugar syrup, as this also acts as preservative. The peel can be stored in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.
- If you are making the peel as a snack or to dip into chocolate as mini orangette, they must be simmered in sugar syrup a tad longer until the syrup is almost dried and crystallised onto the peel. This also saves you time as the peel do not require any drying, or further coating with fine sugar.
Because we like recipe card, and because I know you will be bookmarking this, here is the recipe card format below. You are welcome
Now that you have made candied peel, what can you really do with them?
- Use them for fruit cake! Recipe here and here.
- Use them as part of mincemeat. Recipe here. And make mince pies!
- Bottle them in pretty jars, with ribbons and gift tags. The best homemade gourmet gifts! Other kitchen gifting idea here.
- Make them into orangette, with tip dipped in chocolate. Recipe here.
- Make orange jelly! with candied peel as floaters.
- Use them to decorate cakes!
- And the sugar syrup which is left behind? Don’t discard them either. Add in more sliced oranges and simmer longer, you will get a marmalade!
- Use the leftover sugar syrup as citrus infused concentrated syrup. Either gift away in pretty bottle, or drizzle them on your morning pancakes and waffles. The smell is gorgeous!
** If the peels are too drenched in sugar syrup, and you did not achieve the crystallisation, do not worry. Just drain the peels and place them on baking paper. Optionally sprinkle them with granulated sugar. Dry them in hot sun for couple of days. The other option is to preheat the oven to 120C then switch it off. Place the peels in the hot oven with door open for 1-2 hours, and keep watching to ensure they don’t get burnt. This helps the drying process too. I personally prefer crystallising them in sugar syrup but the other methods worked for me too.