This is my go to candied fruit recipe for pieces of fruit. For whole fruits, like small tangerines or small Forelle pears, I use a longer process that does not entail simmering the fruit. The spices in this recipe can be changed or omitted.
- 5 navel orange
- 1000 grams (4 cups) water
- 470 grams (2 1/3 cup) sugar
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 10 black peppercorns, preferably Tellicherry
- 1 star anise
- pulp from one moist vanilla bean
- Place a large pot of water to boil. I use about a 6 quart pot.
- Cut off a thin slice from the top and bottom of each fruit so that you can see the flesh.
- Working vertically from top to bottom, cut 1” slices of peel off the fruit including a thin slice of the flesh.
- Place the peels in the simmering water and boil for one minute.
- Fish peels out with a slotted spoon and place in ice water until cool to the touch.
- Fill pot with fresh water and bring to a simmer. Place peels in water and simmer one minute. Drain peels. Repeat this process 3 more time for oranges and lemons and 4 more times for grapefruit peel which is really bitter. The simmering process accomplishes two things. It removes the bitterness from the peels and it opens the pores of the peel so they can absorb the sugar which candies and preserves the fruit.
- Place the rest of the ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the peels, cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until peel is translucent and tender.
- Remove pot from the heat and let it sit out in the counter for 24 hours, covered. At that point, the peel can be placed in jars, with enough of the syrup to cover the peels or the peels can be drained and left on racks to dry. I have jars in my fridge that are about two years old and they still taste amazing. Eventually the syrup tends to crystallize but I simply wash off the syrup and use them. For this dessert, I would take some of the peel, put it on a rack and let it dry for 24 hours. Stick the remaining peels in the fridge for something else down the road. You can dry them and dip them in tempered chocolate, chop them up and use them for fruitcake, use them for a Casatta Siciliana or cannoli. These peels are so much better than anything you can buy. You’ll always want to have them on hand. This preparation also works well with grapefruit, lemons, kumquats and Michigan Sour cherries. You can change the spices, or use no spices at all, and the cooking time will be far less for the small fruits.