Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Candied Citrus Peel Redux

Every time I walked into the kitchen after having candied citrus peel I saw the Ball jar of peel on the counter and remembered my resolve to make it work. Unfortunately, I couldn't get rid of the niggling feeling in my gut that it wasn't quite what I needed for my mincemeat.
And then at work last week I saw the cover of Martha Stewart Living and her perfectly candied wedges of peel and I became determined to retry this whole candying peel thing and succeed. I didn't want her entire magazine so I just read the directions a few times until I was confident I could duplicate them at home.
The biggest difference, I think, lay in the slicing. Instead of using my channel knife and making peel ribbons, I took Martha's advice and scored the peel as if to quarter the fruit and then peeled it. I then cut the quarters into smaller pieces, trying to maintain a pleasing wedge shape and mostly succeeding.
The rest of the process was basically the same as described in The Joy of Cooking. I boiled the peel three times to get rid of the bitterness and then boiled it in syrup. I felt quite chuffed with myself for thinking of wiping down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water during my first attempt because although this was not instructed in The Joy, Martha did recommend it. For the syrup Martha suggested 4 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water to candy the peel of several fruit. Unlike in The Joy, all of the syrup does not get absorbed. The indication of doneness is the transparency of the peel, which is achieved after about an hour of simmering.
If you're using the peel in baking, as I was, Martha suggests storing it in some of the syrup.
If it is to be offered as a candy, put the peel on racks and sprinkle with sugar.
I was pleased with the results of the candied peel redux. I was satisfied that this batch would work nicely for my mincemeat. The peel before me coincided with the image of candied peel I had in my head and my niggling doubts were put to rest.

No comments: