Monday, March 17, 2014

Make your own candied peel

Candied peel is an ingredient that pops up a lot in winter and springtime British recipes - from Christmas cakes to hot cross buns. It can also be quite expensive to buy in the shops, and difficult to come by in most places in Japan, so it's definitely something I wanted on the handy "make your own..." list. Most of all I just really like the idea of a nose-to-tail style of no-waste baking. Let's have more of that please!

I made this batch on one of the recent snowy Tokyo days with a view to using them in hot cross buns coming up in April. Here is the method I used.

Candied orange peel - Ingredients
  • 3 large oranges (you could do this with other citrus fruits too)
  • 200 ml water (plus extra for initial boiling stages)
  • 450g sugar, and extra caster sugar to dust 


First peel your oranges. I used just 3 large oranges for quite a lot (300g+) of peel. If you cut off the ends and score lines down the sides of the oranges then you get nice shaped pieces to work with.

How thin you want to slice depends whether you will use them for decoration or for chopping up and going into bread or cake batters. Mine is the latter and so I went quite chunky.

Put the peels in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil twice, discarding the hot water each time.

Next, measure the recipe's sugar and water into the pan and then bring to a simmer.

Add the peels and return to a simmer.

Heat like this for about 1 hour or until translucent and then drain off the syrup.

Dry the slices separately as much as possible, so they don't stick together.

I found that dredging with sugar worked best after the slices were cold and somewhat dry already. If you dredge too soon, the sugar melts in a thick layer on the peel, but what you want to see, is granules of unmelted sugar, coating the peel.

Eat a couple as they are, dip some in dark chocolate as very sugary snacks, or store in a ziplock bag for when you make your hot cross buns.

These peels should keep very well at room temperature for a few weeks, some people manage to store them for months if they have been well saturated with syrup in the boiling stage, dried very well before storage and then stored in an airtight container. Until I have better evidence to the contrary I would say that if you are planning to use them more than a month later, like me, then freeze them to be on the safe side, as they can go moldy.

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