Sunday, November 23, 2008

Making Candied Cirtus Peel for Lebkuchen

I realized a few days ago that I really haven't done much in the way of Thanksgiving/Christmas/Holiday cookie baking yet. Sure I've done some springerle (and have much yet to bake), but I don't feel like I've been baking the to speak. Thus it was with this in mind that I decided to bake one of my favorite Old World Christmas cookies...Lebkuchen. The only problem, however, was that as hard as I tried, I just could not find any candied orange or lemon peel. Not even the chep, cloyingly sweet, jellified stuff. Oh sure, I found plenty of tubs of premixed stuff. You know the kind, with the atomic green "cherries" you find in cheap fruitcake.

I think not. "I shan't," I declared, "sully the good name of lebkuchen with such a thing." Nor, however, could I go without. So I decided, with the help from some friends at BakeSpace, it was time to take these lebkuchen to the next level with homemade citrus peel!

I know what you're thinking, I must be crazy to first make an ingredient from scratch to the be added to another recipe. Maybe I am crazy, but believe me when I tell you that it's so simple that you will never again resort to buying candied peel.

You need a mere three ingredients to make candied citrus peel. Water, sugar, and your citrus peel of choice. Three simple ingredients that, when combined alchemically, yield this shimmering, sweet and slightly bitter, but always elegant treat.

Candied Orange and Lemon Peel

The peel of 2 oranges (including pith), cut into 1/4 inch strips
The peel of 3 lemons (including pith), cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 cups white sugar
1 cup water

Take your peels and put them into a large sauce pan and cover with water and het on high. Let boil 20 minutes. Drain.

In another pan, combine sugar and 1 cup water over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Heat on high until the syrup reaches 230ยบ F. Add the peels, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain.

Separate pieces on a wire rack, sprinkle with more sugar. Let dry for several hours. Store in a cool, dry place.

What about the lebkuchen, you ask? You'll just have to wait until tomorrow for that tasty conclusion. ^_^


pixen said...

FIrst time I tried it making candied citrus peels, it turned out too soft... :-( I love eating candied peels and those chocolate dipped peels :-) It's either I boiled (recipe required to boil 3 times) too long and something gone wrong somewhere. In the end, I bought 1 box of candied yuzu from a Japanese wagashi counter...LOL. But I wil try again after seeing yours turned out lovely! Thank you for sharing.

gaga said...

How fun and easy. It looks great and very tasty!

Anonymous said...

The way i learned it was that you soak the peals in water for 3 or 4 days. Each day you change the water so that it's clean. Then you put them in a skillet and over high heat with lots of sugar. Keep rolling them around in the sugar until it starts to melt and they turn into candy. This way they're more like candy and not soggy boiled peals.
Also if you boil them, you boil out the citrus oils that make the candy taste good.