Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DIY XMAS: Candied Citrus Peel

Yeah.  TFH may have tried this a time or two before.  And she may have learned a thing or two about sugar crystals.  Like, if you let a sugar crystal drop into the simple syrup solution, you will get a pot full of crunchy, orange-flavored sugar.  Which sucks (but can be used for other stuff).

Well, finally, she found a decent recipe (yep, the past mistakes are definitely the recipe's fault), buckled down, and paid attention rather than drinking wine and reading blogs while trying to cook.  And, thus, some amazing candied citrus peel was the result!  Do it!

Citrus fruits

1.  Cut each fruit into quarters and carefully peel the skin away from the fruit.  (Reserve the fruit for another purpose.)
2.  Try to cut away as much of the bitter-tasting white pith from the skin as you can.  This ain't easy.  But do your best.  (Incidentally, which came first: bitter pith or pithy comments?)
3.  Place the skins in a pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and let boil for ten minutes.
4.  Repeat three times.  Yes, that's right.  Pour out the water, save the peel, recover the peel, and boil again.  And again.

5.  After the third boil (eww, doesn't that sound gross?), let the peel cool a bit.  Then, if needed (and it will be needed, especially on lemons), scrape away any additional pith with a sharp knife.  This takes a while but is particularly satisfying.
6.  Setting aside the peel business for a while, mix one cup each of water and sugar for each cup of peel over low heat.  Stir often to make sure the sugar melts, but don't let the solution get too hot.  And, obviously, don't drop even a single, solitary sugar crystal into the pot, or you are totally screwed.
7.  Drop the scraped peel into the sugar solution and cook over low heat until most of the syrup is absorbed.  This takes a while.  Don't leave the kitchen.  But you can make something else at the same time, like peanut butter balls.

8.  When the time finally comes to removed the peel from the simple syrup, spread it out on parchment paper and let it dry for a while.  Then sprinkle granulated sugar all over it, let it dry some more, and either eat it or give it away.  You can also dip one end in melted chocolate, which is delicious.

The Frugal Hostess only enjoys lemon in dessert preparations. On fish, lemon is gross.  You heard correctly.  Please comment. You can also join the Frugalistas on Facebook for exclusive content, follow on Twitter @frugalhostess, or visit FruHo Holidays for a peak inside the holiday store room.

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  1. You are the funniest and sweetest hostess ever.

  2. My momma used to make these around Christmas! I've always been scared to -- all that slicing and boiling and hot sugar! But maybe I'll actually give it a go this season.

  3. You'd better be bringing some of this stuff down when you come for Christmas. You need to get Aunt Addie's recipe for Martha Washington Ball, which her brother Nick said should be called George Washington Balls.

  4. I tried one recipe for this once and it was a hot mess. But you made me want to try again! Thanks, Susan! xoxo, P


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