October 24, 2008

Candied Grapefruit Peel

peels on baking sheet.jpgMy grandfather used to always have these at his house. As a young kid, I veered away from them and straight to the raisin clusters (who wouldn't??). But I'm thinking its time to see what I was missing. Thanks to Cooking Books for the recipe and photo.

Candied Grapefruit Peel

2 grapefruits
2 1/4 cups sugar, plus 1 cup for coating dried peel

Cut the grapefruit in quarters and juice them. Hold on to the juice for another use, something like this one. With your hands, start on one end of the grapefruit quarter and begin pulling up on the pulp. The membrane should begin to let go of the pith and you should be able to pull the whole thing out in one chunk (see picture). If there's plup or membrane left on, you can use a grapefruit spoon to scrape it off. You should be left with a nice clean pith and peel.

Cut the grapefruit peel into 1/4 inch strips. I found it was easiest to do this with a serrated knife, with the peel site facing up.

Fill a 2-quart sauce pan with water and bring the water to a boil. Simmer the peel for 5 minutes, then drain. Re-fill the pan with fresh water, return to a boil, and add the peel back in, simmering for 5 minutes again. You want to do this for a total of three times so that the grapefruit peel will loose its bitterness.

Once you have boiled the peels for the third time, combine the 2 1/4 cups sugar with 1 1/2 cups water in the same sauce pan. Over medium-low heat, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves completely, then add the peel back in. Brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water so that the simple syrup doesn't burn.

Return the peels to the water, increase the heat so that the liquid comes to a gentle boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the peels for between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, until they are very tender and sweet and the liquid has been reduced to a syrup.

For Candied Peels in Syrup

Cool the peels in their syrup until lukewarm, transfer to a clean container and store, covered in the refrigerator. The peels in syrup are a beautiful jewel-tone, and would be perfect as a garnish over a sponge or cake, baked into muffins or breads, or spooned over ice cream.

For Dried and Sugared Peels

Spread 1 cup of sugar on a cookie sheet and put the peels directly from the syrup onto the sugared tray. Roll the strips in the sugar until they are well coated. Place a cooling rack over another tray and as each strip is rolled in the sugar, place it on the cooling rack. The peels should not be touching so there is enough room for air to circulate around each one. Leave in a safe, dry place overnight until the peels are dried out. You can store the peels layered between parchment paper in a sealed container.

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Posted by Bob Wallace at October 24, 2008 7:20 AM
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