I grew up in a home where no food was wasted. Even the smallest dribs and drabs of leftovers from dinner was put back into the fridge to reappear at a meal later in the week. In fact, the only night we didn’t have leftovers of some sort was Shabbat. Even vegetable peels and scraps were reused in the form of compost. While as a kid I complained about it, I am clearly a product of that environment. This week as I was peeling many grapefruits (my little one and I have been on a grapefruit kick lately) I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the peels. I knew I could make something delicious from them and it pained me not to seem them living up to their potential. They were destined for greater things than the trash can, so I froze the peel from each grapefruit until I finally had enough to make the candying process worthwhile.
I’m not going to lie. It is a bit of a pain to make candied citrus peel. However, the results are delicious and the candied peels last almost indefinitely if stored in their syrup in the refrigerator. Rolled in sugar or dipped in chocolate they make an elegant treat. There is nothing hard about it, but it is a long process because the peels need to be blanched in boiling water several times to remove the bitterness. Candied grapefruit peel has more bitterness than other citrus I have candied, but in a way that is reminiscent of the grapefruit itself. It is important to scrape most of the white pith off before the final blanching or they will be unpleasantly bitter. Click more for the giveaway.
The recipe I used was from the book Chocolate Obsession by Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage. It is a wonderful book filled with his most popular truffle recipes. Trust me when I say they are worth the trouble. There are also great ice cream and other chocolate recipes that are delicious. (I especially like the white chocolate bark with caramelized cocoa nibs and the lemon verbena truffles).
I am giving away a signed copy of this wonderful book (Signed by the author, not by me). To enter, leave me a comment with your favorite flavor of truffle (it doesn’t have to be from this book.) For an extra entry, follow me on twitter and tweet about the giveaway. Then come back and leave another comment telling me you tweeted. For yet another entry, follow me on facebook and leave another comment that you are following.
I will pick the winner by random number on Saturday April 24 at 10:00 pm, E.S.T so all entries must be in by then. I would love to hear favorite truffle ideas from everyone, but I can only ship the book in the U.S. and Canada, sorry about that.
Candied Grapefruit Peel
(adapted from Chocolate Obsession by Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage)
The peel of 4 grapefruits
5 cups (35 oz) granulated sugar
4 1/4 cups (34 oz) water
2/3 cup (7 oz) light corn syrup.
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Add the peels to the boiling water and bring the water back to a boil. Pour the peels and water into a strainer, then put the peels in the ice water bath. Refill the saucepan with fresh water and repeat. (You may need to add more ice to the ice water bath). Bring the water to a boil for the third time. While waiting for the water to boil use a knife to scrape most of the white pith off the peel. You do not want to see through to the outer rind, but there should be very little white left. Add the peels to the water for a third time, bring the water back to a boil, and drain. (This can be done one day ahead. Refrigerate the peels in an airtight container)
To candy the peels. Stir together the remaining ingredients in a large sauce pan. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, cut 2 rounds of parchment paper slightly lager than the diameter of the pan. When the sugar syrup is boiling, add the blanched peel and bring back to a simmer. Cover the peels with a double layer of parchment paper to keep it submerged. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the peel looks translucent and the pith is soft, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The temperature of the syrup will be about 220. (Note: my understanding of a simmer must be different because it took me more than 3 hours to get to the proper temperature. I recommend using a more active simmer to cut down the time to the amount called for in the recipe.)
Remove pan from heat and let the peels cool in the syrup, with the parchment paper in place and undisturbed, at room temperature overnight. The next day; transfer the peels and syrup to a container with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.
To serve the peels as a candy remove them from the syrup and rinse them off under cold water. Cut the pieces lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Place strips on a wire rack and leave them at room temperature overnight, or until dry. Place granulated sugar in a bowl and coat the strips, a few at a time, to coat evenly. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, not in the refrigerator.