In an ideal world, I would always have these chunky batons or finer julienne strips of candied citrus to hand for sprinkling over ice creams and sorbets, fresh fruit or compotes, cakes and various puddings. The candied fruit keeps for months when stored in sugar in a cool dry place , but are at their very best when eaten within a few days of being made. With or without the optional chocolate coating, they are one of my favourite sweets to have with coffee.
There are two recipes here, but the technique employed of blanching the fruit to remove the bitterness and then slowly candying it in syrup, is similar in both recipes. I use oranges, lemons, clementines, grapefruit and occasionally limes.
I always cook the various fruit separately as the cooking times vary.
- Choose unblemished brightly coloured citrus fruit for these recipes and in this part of the world we receive the best citrus fruit during the winter months
- 2 Pink grapefruit or 4 oranges, or 4 lemons or 6 clementines
- 600ml sugar syrup
- Chocolate Coated Candied Citrus
- Ingredients as above, plus 200g of chocolate, 60-70% cocoa solids, melted
Makes c 100 pieces
- Cut a slice of rind horizontally off the top and bottom of the fruit, just thickly enough to start exposing the juicy flesh. Cut the fruit from top to bottom in quarters. With a sharp knife, remove ¾ of the juicy flesh from each piece of fruit. This fruit need not be discarded, but can be lightly sugared and eaten later as a light and refreshing dessert. Cut the rinds lengthways to achieve ½ cm wide strips with just a little of the flesh attached.
- Place the strips in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Strain off the cooking water gently and repeat this process, always starting with cold water, 4 more times.
- Drain the blanched rinds thoroughly. Place in a clean saucepan and cover with the cold syrup. Poach very gently at a bare simmer, uncovered for c 1 hour or until the fruit is tender and looks translucent. Do not allow the syrup to boil fast as it will reduce, thicken and toughen the fruit. Remove the cooked rinds from the syrup and place on a wire rack to drain thoroughly and become completely cold. When the rinds are cold, transfer to a sheet of parchment paper and leave at room temperature overnight to dry out.
- Next day, you can now take either of two routes with the fruit. The strips can be rolled in dry caster sugar and stored in an air tight box or you can dip the cooled rinds in melted chocolate. Of course you could also decide to sugar some and chocolate dip the rest, that way you will have homemade citrus chocolates to eat straight away and candied strips to enjoy at a later date.
- Dip the drained rinds in melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to set. Chill. These chocolate coated rinds will keep for weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.
- Roll in best quality bitter cocoa powder before serving.
Candied Citrus Julienne
The technique for making these fine candied citrus julienne is similar to that of the strips. They are more refined and suitable for dishes where a more delicate citrus garnish is required.
Makes c 100ml of the candied julienne
- 2 lemons or oranges
- 250ml sugar syrup
- Caster sugar for coating the cooked and cooled julienne
- With a swivel bladed peeler, pare the rinds off the citrus fruit from top to bottom, achieving long strips and as wide as possible to facilitate easier chopping. Place on a chopping board and cut into fine julienne along the length of the strips. Put in a small saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately, strain off the water. Replace in the saucepan with cold water and repeat the process 4 more times to tenderize the fruit and draw out any excess bitterness. Allow the fruit to drain thoroughly.
- Place the drained strips in a small saucepan and cover with the cold syrup. Bring to a bare simmer and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the fruit appears translucent. Don’t allow the syrup to cook too fast or it will reduce, thicken and toughen the fruit.
- Drain off the syrup and save it for making lemonade. Place the strips on a wire rack to cool and to allow all of the excess syrup to drain off.
- Toss in caster sugar and store in an airtight box in a cool place until needed.