I’ve been working on a Hot Cross Bun recipe, and had run out of candied peel that I bought ages ago, the Sundora brand is a good one if you need back up supplies, I have a mountain of peel from this batch so the fact I couldn’t find any in the shops here isn’t a problem! As much as possible I try to limit the things I ask people visiting us for to items I really can’t make or find here, and this recipe is pretty easy, it just takes a while to do.
Quite a few recipes say to let these dry somewhere for a few days, I can’t afford to do that here or the ants will get a treat so I followed one recipe that said to put the oven on a really low setting and pop them in to dry off. Dusting them in sugar was also a really good idea.
I wasn’t sure how my limes were going to fare with this, the answer is that they are slightly crisper than the oranges and lemons, but good all the same. Use a mixture of fruits, oranges are a staple, as are lemons, but if you have a grapefruit try it, Waitrose’s recipe say use a pomelo (Asian fruit cousin of the grapefruit), as long as it is citrus, go with it!
Some recipes want you to remove all the pith from the skins, this one from Waitrose did not, and I like the plumpness that resulted from leaving it, once you’ve simmered the skins until soft there really is no bitterness left, and it makes it easy and less time consuming. Don’t panic when you see how long the recipe says this takes, you spend a few minutes taking the skins off the fruit, then they simmer away and you can get on with something else, you have to check on them every now and then when in the syrup but this is not labour intensive. I finished my peel off a different way to this recipe, and used this for guidance.
If you fancy making something out of this, they are yummy dipped in dark chocolate!
I used 3 oranges, 2 lemons and 2 limes and still got at least 500 grams, should keep me going for a little while, if I can keep the children away from it! The only other ingredient is sugar, and water, how easy is that?
You will need 600 grams of sugar for the syrup, plus roughly another 200g for coating.
- Aiming to just take the skin and leave the fruit behind, with a good sharp knife take the tops and bottoms off the fruit, and then work around the fruit, taking the skin off in slices. Check the undersides and remove any fruit you took with it.
- In a mid sized saucepan place all the skin and plenty of water. Simmer the peel for about forty five minutes until the skin is soft. Apparently this can take up to ninety minutes depending on the fruit so keep an eye on it and keep the water topped up. I tested the softness by taking a piece out and seeing if I could break the skin easily with my finger nail. Drain the peel.
- Rinse the pan and then add the 600 grams of sugar, and 300ml water. Heat while stirring until the sugar has melted and then add the peel, there should be enough syrup to fully cover all of it. Simmer on a low heat, occasionally pressing the top peel down, until nearly all the syrup has been absorbed / reduced. This will take anything up to two hours forty five minutes.
- Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 2 / 150 degC / 300 degF. Line a tray with greaseproof paper, and place the remaining sugar into a bowl. Using tongs as the peel is in very hot syrup, put a few bits of peel into the sugar, coat it and place on the lined tray. Do this with all the peel, topping up the sugar if needed.
- Pop the tray into the oven to dry out the fruit, this should take about an hour, check on them every twenty minutes or so to make sure they don’t brown or burn. Take them out of the oven and cool.
- Once cool, scrape any excess sugar from them and bag up or put into clean, sterilised jars. The peel will keep for several weeks.
With the peeled fruit I made a sorbet to use it up!