Candied Citrus Peel (piel de citricos escarchada/confitada)

This candied citrus peel was well worth the effort. I haven’t really got a very sweet tooth, but this was just divine! I’ll most certainly be using it in my Eccles Cakes/ Christmas Cake recipes and the like.

4 large oranges
4 large lemons
Optional: chocolate for dipping

1. As you can see from my photos, I started off peeling my fruit with a potato peeler – but it just peeled the zest with no pith at all, so I ended up peeling everything with a serrated knife. Once peeled, cut the pieces into strips.
2. Place the strips in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Discard this first batch of water and repeat the process with fresh water, but this time bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Now strain the fruit, reserving the liquid in a measuring jug. Put the strips of fruit into a bowl. Add to the pan 100g (1/2 cup) sugar for each 100ml (3.5 fluid ounces) of the cooking liquid (I ended up with 600ml liquid and used 3 cups sugar). Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Return the strips of fruit to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, when the peel should be translucent and soft. Allow to cool in the syrup, then remove with a slotted spoon and arrange in a single layer on a wire rack (I just placed mine on grease-proof paper over the oven tray). I bottled the left over syrup as you can use it to glaze pies, sweet rolls, etc., after baking. You can either leave the peel overnight to dry or, as I did, place it in the oven at the lowest setting for 30 minutes.
4. Now dip the strips of peel into a bowl of sugar, a few at a time, then place on a clean piece of grease-proof paper and allow to dry for an hour or two (I also saved whatever leftover dipping sugar I had and used it in another sweet recipe which already contained orange peel – and it enhanced the flavour even more).
5. Keep the candied peel in an airtight tin or container lined with grease-proof paper. It will keep for 6-8 weeks in a cool, dry place.