During Christmastime citrus season begins to rise with fresh oranges, lemons, limes and tangerines in many varieties. The freshness of the fruit is exquisite, and can be added into so many holiday recipes, from cakes to cookies, but most deliciously folded into Panettone. Panettone is an Italian bread that is flecked with dried fruits, and some candied citrus too. I remember traveling to Rome during Christmas one year, and watching Italians hurry home with a Panettone hanging from their arm to enjoy for dessert after dinner. It was a magical place that time of the year, and it even snowed and became a winter wonderland in the city, which I guess was a rarity, as we were told.
Candied fruit can be made at home in your own kitchen. The process is simple and it tastes so much cleaner than the stuff they sell in most grocery stores. Using citrus peels from an eaten tangerine, or orange is all you need to start, plus a little sugar. I learned how to candy citrus in pastry school, so many years ago, and at the time I remember thinking, “will I ever use these?” Well, in fact I do use candied peels much more than I thought and they keep in a sealed container in a warm dry place, like a pantry. I prefer to leave my candied citrus in large pieces, and slice or dice them as needed for recipes. They also can be used in a cocktail that require a little citrus peel, and the leftover syrup in this recipe, can be used to add to drinks as a sweetener, like simple syrup, or brushed over cakes to add flavor before spreading on buttercream. I also love to eat them straight from a jar, that bite of sweet citrus is one of the best treats to me.
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon corn syrup
(Makes about 1/2 cup Candied Peels)
- Peel tangerines, trying to leave strips as large as possible.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add peels and cover with water. Boil for 5-7 minutes, until pith (inner white layer begins to melt away slightly). Drain.
- Add peels back into pan and add 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until temperature reaches 230 degrees (most of the liquid will be evaporated). Drain peels over a bowl, reserving liquid for other uses (add hot water to sticky liquid to create a simple syrup).
- Place remaining sugar on a parchment lined sheet pan and toss hot peels on top. Using a fork, coat peels in sugar and let cool. When cool, place in a sealed jar until ready to use. Enjoy!