Monday, February 20, 2012

Candied Bergamot Peel

Still going through the bergamots, and it's wonderful. When I made the bars, it necessarily left a lot of rind behind, and of course I couldn't let it go to waste. I cannot imagine the horror I'd feel if I actually had to say I wasted a single part of the most precious fruit in the world. So... Yeah. I thought about it, and I was considering doing the spoon sweets, but I just didn't feel I had enough rind for this (since it was rind from only 3-4 oranges), although I've since changed my mind. Small jars of spoon sweets would be better for me to make anyway, I believe, since I tend to treat them in an addict sort of manner. I thought it'd be nice to make another candy, but I didn't want to really mess with standard candy making this weekend. I am simply drowning in homework. Drowning. Really. Like, as I understand it, Ross misses me. Y'all probably get more communication out of me right now than even my neighbours do. So I thought candied peels would be the way to go. They're awesome, you never want to shove the entire batch in your mouth at one time (or maybe you do? I don't coat them in chocolate so I can avoid this problem), and they're super sweet without being cloyingly so. This is a four day process, the way I make them now, so be prepared. The four days are spent doing virtually nothing, but it's not a candy I just toss together and eat a few hours later. Hope you enjoy!

peel from up to 6 oranges, cut into thin strips
water
2 cups sugar, plus another 1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon bergamot or lemon juice

Place the peel strips in a bowl of water, weighing down with a slightly smaller bowl. Let sit out until the next day, then drain and repeat the process. This goes on for three days. On the fourth day, drain them and plop the peels in a saucepan with 2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water, plus the juice. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally (if you remember) until the sugar melts. Then, simmer over low to medium-low heat for about an hour, or until the strips are mostly translucent. Drain, reserving syrup, and toss them in the quarter cup of sugar, shaking to coat evenly (I do this in a Tupperware container). Remove from sugar (don't throw away any leftover sugar - put it in your coffee or tea, or just eat it with a spoon) and place, separated from one another, on wax paper. Let sit overnight. Enjoy.

Alternately, instead of rolling them in sugar, you may choose to simply strain them, dry on wax paper, dip in chocolate and then dry on wax paper again. It's up to you. I eat them too fast this way, so I generally try not to make them this way anymore.

There're a couple options with the leftover syrup. You may use keep the syrup in a jar and use it to flavour things (that's what I'm doing with this batch, because I'm truly enjoying the homemade Earl Grey tea blends I'm making these days). You may also do what Lisa does, which is boil it to the hard crack stage, let dry on a silpat on a baking sheet and hammer into... well, it's brittle, but Lisa calls it crack (because it's addictive like crack) and then eat lovely pieces of hard candy. This is what will be happening next time I make it. The idea of what effectively amounts to being bergamot jawbreakers is more than I can bear to not experience. You may also cook it down a little more, using it in place of maple (or other) syrups on pancakes, biscuits, etc. You could can it if you wanted, so you have the syrup year round. You could use it as the base for a sorbet as well. There's a lot to do with the syrup, so keep it and enjoy it!

As an aside, this method is completely applicable to the rinds of any citrus fruits you may be playing with right now. So while it is true that this recipe is for bergamot, feel free to use it for navels, sevilles, tangerines, limes, lemons, grapefruits, whatever!

2 comments:

  1. I'm always too lazy to soak the peels. I just chuck 'em in sugar syrup and let it go. :-P

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  2. You know, DC, I've always done the same thing! But this time I figured I'd do it properly, since previous attempts I've made w/ bergamot had not been so pleasant. :)

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