Whenever a seasonal food is about to go out of season, all of a sudden I am obsessed. I need to make 5 thousand dishes with this one food, before it is GONE. FOREVER! Or, until next year, which still seems like a really long time. Clementines won't be in the stores for much longer, and I love love love love LOVE them. Last year I discovered a recipe for clementine cake. I don't think I need to tell you that this dessert was a revelation, and was made, let's just say, more than once, that winter. I also made
The marmalade is for a future post, since I'm still getting up the courage to try it again. I might have to ask my expert-marmalade-maker nana for advice. But this week, I checked something else off my never-did-this-must-must-must-do-it list: candied citrus peel. The first night, I started with clementines (Did I mention that I LOVE them?), and became ambitious the second night, making orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime peel. I'm crazy, right?
Turns out? It's not at all hard. Basically, you:
1. Cut off the ends of the fruit, if needed. Score the peel in quarters, peel off, cut into little strips.
2. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, drain. Repeat twice. This is to get the bitterness out.
3. Mix together enough water to cover the peel, and equal parts sugar. Melt sugar, bring to a boil, and simmer for an hour or so.
4. Drain, let dry on baking racks.
5. You can coat them with sugar, or dip in chocolate. I didn't do the chocolate, mostly because I was lazy, but also because they were just so damn good on their own.
It all went fairly smoothly. I decided that coating the peel with sugar wasn't really necessary, and didn't do it after the clementine batch. Number one, it kind of dried in clumps. I might try pulsing some sugar in a food processor to make it superfine next time, but honestly (and this is number two): it's already sweet enough. I love the strident citrus flavor with a background of sweet.
There's a little rule in cooking that I am always relearning: a recipe is not the gospel - use common sense. The recipe I used for the clementines called for 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar. For 6 clementines. 4 cups of sugar? OMFG. But I followed the instructions blindly, learning my lesson later. The leftover citrus-y syrup is pretty delicious, so no big deal. I've put it in the freezer until I can think of something to use it for. And sugar is definitely on the shopping list.
|Nectar of the gods?|
The limes were lovely and tart, and dried nice and firm. Although they lost their vibrant green color once they hit the boiling water.
I used two grapefruits, one of which was more pink in color, the other more yellow, so there was a striking variation. (You can see this particularly in the drying rack photo, bottom.)
You know what? I stirred it a few times. Horrors! And no one died. Also, no sugar crystals. Wonders never cease.
|Lemons, nice and strong and sweet.|
Oranges were the only fruit where I trimmed the pith - there was just so much of it. I could have done that with the grapefruit too, but I'm glad I didn't - the pith has great texture. So next time, I'm throwing caution to the wind and leaving it all on. Living life on the wild side, right here!
Now, what do I do with all this peeled fruit?