There are candied fruits available from a local patisserie, lovely clementines, apricots but they come from the Luberon which is just too far when here in the Vallespir there are so many lovely oranges available on our doorstep, back gardens throughout the valley have orange trees heavy with fruit, it’s a crime not to candy them. USES Rinse off syrup and dry, chop and fold into brioche dough, in to brousse cheesecake, ice creams, celebration cakes for Christmas, cookies.
The sugar (which is French from sugar beet) & water I use in the candying is TWICE the weight of the peel; the honey is added before the penultimate boil and is a quarter of the weight of the sugar used. I find this maintains syrup cover for the orange peel during the whole process, even up to the final stage and leaves no left over syrup when putting in jars. If you would like more syrup just increase the weight of sugar and water up to 3 times the weight of the peel.
I find through experience, as with many recipes that doing several small batches (x6-8 oranges) gives best results.
Save the juice from the oranges, it freezes well and can be used in baking, sticky orange brioche coils, soaking dried cherries. Any left over syrup after bottling the fruit can be used in ice creams, cakes or brushed over the surface of hot brioche and Catalan uncrossed buns straight from the oven.
This same method can be also used for kumquats (these need only be thickly sliced and pips removed) and lemons.
Organic Orange Peel
Granulated, organic Sugar
Honey, preferably a light floral mille fleurs, acacia
So if the peel from 6 oranges weighed 370g; sugar would be 740g; water would be 740g and the honey needed would be 185g
Day 1 – Cooking the Peel: Give the oranges a wash in warm water. Using a sharp knife cut, only penetrating the peel and pith, from top to bottom of orange, do this 4 times around the orange and then peel the quarters away from the fruit. Repeat with the remaining fruit.
Put the peel into a pan, cover with cold water bring to a boil, immediately drain, tip peel into a bowl of cold water to cool. When cool repeat the process.
Repeat a third time, but this time when the water comes to a simmer, continue to cook until the peel is translucent – expect this to take at least 40 minutes.
Drain and cool in cold water, when the peel has cooled drain and put on a cake rack to dry overnight, on the odd occasion if the peel is particularly thick it can take 48 hours to dry .
Day 2 – Candying: Put the water and sugar in a pan uncovered, over a low heat until the sugar has dissolve, bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Add the peel to the syrup – it should be completely submerged by the syrup – slipping a small plate over the oranges can help them remain submerged. Leave uncovered, for around 24 hours.
Day 3: Put the pan with syrup and oranges over a low heat and as soon as it comes to a boil remove from heat and leave in the syrup, uncovered, to cool.
Day 4-7/10 days – repeat ‘day 3’ process each day. The syrup will steadily thicken and the candying is complete when it leaves a film on the surface of the fruit – generally I find day 7 is enough, but it will depend on the thickness of the peel. Before the penultimate boil, add the honey to the syrup, this will prevent crystallising.
To store: Leave the peel to cool in the syrup before packing into clean jars, cover with syrup, I find it will keep satisfactorily without vacuum sealing for at least 12 months in the fridge.