MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
Even though you can purchase candied fruit peels in supermarkets and Italian specialty stores, the quality and taste just cannot compare, for my money, with the homemade version. The most popular is orange peel but the same procedure for making it can be used for lemon and grapefruit. Orange peel is called for in the exquisite-tasting Torta di Tagliatelline di Modena. Candied peels can be made ahead and stored for months under refrigeration.
3 large navel oranges, washed and dried
1 1/2cups water
1 1/4cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup turbinado (coarse brown) sugar
Cut the oranges in half and squeeze the juice; there should be about 1 cup. Set the juice aside. Cut each orange half in two and pull out the pulp and membranes. Using a very sharp small knife, scrape as much white pith as possible from the peel and discard it. Cut the peel into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Place them in a medium-size saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Drain the peel and rinse the saucepan. Repeat this process two more times. (Blanching the peel in boiling water helps to eliminate the bitterness.) Set the drained peel aside.
Pour the orange juice into a medium-size nonreactive saucepan and add the 1 1/2 cups water, granulated sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the blanched orange peel and stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the syrup thickens and reduces by about two thirds (it should be the consistency of corn syrup), about 2 1/2 hours.
Spread the turbinado sugar in a 9 X 12-inch baking pan. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
With a slotted spoon, remove the peel from the syrup and spread it over the turbinado sugar. With your fingers, roll the strips in the sugar to coat them evenly on all sides. Place the sugared strips on the baking sheet and let them dry, uncovered, overnight.
Store the candied peel in glass jars in the refrigerator or in glass jars or airtight plastic bags in the freezer.
This recipe is from MANGIA PASTA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1998.
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