Friday, 21 December 2012
Homemade Candied Orange Peel
This has to be the ULTIMATE thrifty Christmas treat. Basically, it's made out of something you'd normally throw away.
Although, what you save on ingredients you probably more than make up for in trips to the dentist.
Think not of it as giving your nearest and dearest food salvaged from the compo bin, but rather a thoughtful and tasty homemade delicacy. You get the added bonus of making your house smell amazing while you're making them too.
You will need:
Large oranges (the nice big ones with thick skins, such as Sevilles. This is no place for the satsuma)
70% dark bitter chocolate if you want to fancy them up
Begin by removing the skin. The easiest way to do this and to give reasonable size pieces is to score through the skin with a sharp knife (skin part only, try not to go through the pith or the flesh). Do this all the way round as though you are scoring segments. Then peel the skin off.
The oranges will keep for a day or two in a sealed bag in the fridge if you're not using them straight away.
Holding a sharp knife flat, slice off as much of the white pith as you can. Um, remember to do this away from you. Just sayin.
Pop the orange boat skins into a saucepan with just enough water to cover them. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Then drain, refresh with clean cold water and repeat twice more.
After they have been cooked in this way for a total of 3 times, drain, rinse and them slice into sticks.
Into your pan, make a syrup - again enough to cover the orange slices. Amounts will depend on how many oranges you are doing, but you need a ratio of 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. For example, I used 4 large oranges and used half a mug of sugar and 1 mug of water. Heat and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved then add your orange strips to the pan.
Bring to the boil then simmer for around 45 minutes, until they have turned translucent. Don't be tempted to wack up the heat to speed things up, or, I dunno, say go and do the hoovering upstairs...KEEP AN EYE ON IT, sugar burns easily and you don't want a kitchen full of acrid smoke. Again, just sayin.
Once they are cooked, turn off the heat and leave until they have cooled down enough to handle.
Rest them on a wire rack with a tray or greaseproof paper underneath to drain off the syrup.
Pour some caster sugar into a bowl and toss the orange slices ensuring they are covered. Make like Ian Beale battering a nice bit of haddock. Hmm in fact, they look a bit like goldfish, maybe next time I'll cut them fishy shape.
Pop on a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave overnight to firm up.
As a final touch - it is Christmas after all- you can dip them in chocolate. A good quality dark chocolate is best, and choose a bitter one to off-set the sweetness. Melt in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of water and dip the ends of your orange strips in.
Leave to set on greaseproof paper.
Keep them in an airtight container or pop into a pretty jar for a thrifty Christmas gift. They are tangy and twangy and deliciously fabulous. Enjoy!