Make your own candied peel for Christmas baking, hot cross buns or sweets
This was inspired by my article about the art of drying produce. The flavours of the fruits really come through in this candied peel so they’ll bring a citrus lift as well as sweetness when chopped into Christmas baking. Try rolling whole pieces in granulated sugar or cover in melted dark chocolate to enjoy as sweets.
900g granulated sugar
Quarter the fruit by slicing from top to bottom. Prise the peel away from the flesh, cut each quarter of peel into strips approximately 1cm wide and put them into a large pan.
Cover with cold water, bring to a rolling boil and leave bubbling for 2 mins. Drain, rinse the pan and repeat this process a total of five times. To remove the peel’s bitterness as well as tenderise, it is important to keep rinsing the pan and changing the water.
Drain the peel and leave to cool for a few mins. If there are pieces with excess white pith or bits of stringy fruit membrane, they can be lifted off at this stage by gently running a teaspoon over the pith side of the peel.
Put 450ml of water into a large pan and add the sugar. Heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup looks clear. Add the peel, bring to the boil and gently simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. The peel will become translucent and look almost like stained glass. Leave to cool in the pan.
Transfer the peel and syrup to sterilised jars for storage, making sure each piece is immersed by cooking syrup. To dry the peel out before using it, lift each piece from the jar and run your fingers along its length to draw off excess syrup, then lay the pieces on a cooking rack for at least a day to completely dry out.
The undried peel can be kept in its syrup for several months. Once dried into candied peel, it can be stored for 6-8 weeks in an airtight container.