Friday, 11 January 2013

Candied Orange Peel

It's that time of year between buying boxes of clementines at Christmas, small orange fruit still attached to their glossy leaves putting up no resistance when peeling and the long awaited week to ten days when Seville oranges are available to those of us who take marmalade making very seriously. During this time another of my favourite orange fruit is beckoning, the navel orange. These large oranges, even at the fruit and veg stall on the A1101, run by two of East Anglia's most dour Yorkshiremen, are expensive, but there is of course so muich more to them than the delicious flesh, the sweetest of all oranges in my opinion. I speak of course of the fact that the peel is ideal for creating candied peel.

Back in the 1600s orange trees were planted here at Hagbeach Hall, in a large orangerie. It's entirely likely the orangerie was built specifically to house them. In 1806, when the big house was burned down leaving only the stable block and coach house (currently my home) standing, it appears the orangerie, a construction some way away from the house which would have been made of brick, glass and stone was also undamaged. And so it must have remained for a couple of decades with the then nearly 200 year old orange trees surviving. These trees were bought by Lord Peckover and moved to Peckover House in Wisbech a mile or two away where they continued to be cared for to this day. Last year I went to see them and learned of the receipt that is now held at Peckover for the purchase of the trees.They are now over 300 years old gnarled and twisted into the most beautiful shapes.So I imagine oranges of some variety or other have been enjoyed here for a very long time. The orange trees at Peckover

Making candied peel is incredible simple, you just have to have the right peel, this means peel that is thick from the start, so those fruit which feel unnervingly light for their size are probably going to deliver. When I was a child, our mother would give my brother and me a navel orange each after supper at this time of year. We would sit by the fire, she would hand us both an orange with its top sliced off and a teaspoon. I don't know if it was so that the whole process of eating our treat would take a lot longer than if the orange was simply peeled, but it felt very special. These days I take the smallest slice off the peel at both ends then score it down a bit like the staves of a wooden barrel. This way the peel can be taken off easily and in a good shape to turn into candied peel.

I usually find the peel of two oranges is a good amount to work with. IN a small pan, simmer the pieces of peel in water for 10 minutes, discard the water and repeat the process. This removes the excess bitterness that is present. Drain the peel and replace the peel in the pan along with 200ml of water and 200g of granulated sugar. Bring this to a simmer and simmer for an hour. Take the candied peel out of the syrup and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, place in the oven at 100 C for an hour to dry out. You now have candied orange peel which can be used to flavour cakes and biscuits etc, you also have orange flavoured syrup witch will keep in the fridge for a week. The pieces of rind can be dipped in dark chocolate to produce a delicious sweet to have after dinner with coffee. I decided on this occasion I would use 100g to make another batch of worthies Emneth Worthies recipe
As well as soaking the golden raisins in Di Saronno see update  I added 50ml of the orange syrup to the soaking liquer and doubled the quantity of dried fruit.

Notes: Grapefruit, especially pink grapefruit and of course lemons are excellent for candied peel, choose fruit which feels worryingly light for the size, a sure sign the peel is thick.

1 comment:

  1. A very useful recipe for preparing staple ingredients for the pantry. Thank you :)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.