Candied citrus zest

Candied citrus zest

By
From
Citrus
Photographer
Mowie Kay

This is a very quick way of preserving zest – the process is sped up because you are using just the pared zest, not the pith. It is one of those things you will not be able to stop eating – the flavour is intense and, if you add the citric acid, mouth-numbingly addictive. I use it as a garnish, or simply as a sweet (there is always a tub of these on my kitchen worktop). I will also finely chop it or blitz it to a powder to sprinkle or to give a sherbety hit.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1-2 citrus fruit
100g granulated sugar
150ml water

To store

Quantity Ingredient
75g granulated sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon citric acid, (optional)

Method

  1. Pare the zest from the fruit in thick strips – don’t worry if a little pith is attached to the zest, this is to be expected. Slice the strips thinly, just slightly thicker than you would get if you used a parer.
  2. Put the zest in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then immediately strain. Run under cold water, then repeat the process. Set aside the drained zest while you make the sugar syrup.
  3. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the zest and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer gently for 10–15 minutes until the zest is translucent.
  4. Remove the zest from the syrup with a slotted spoon and spread out on kitchen paper or a piece of baking parchment. Leave to dry for around an hour.
  5. To store, sprinkle with sugar and keep in an airtight container. What I normally do is pound a little citric acid in a pestle and mortar until it is as powdery as icing sugar, and mix this with the sugar – it will make the flavours pop and will really enhance the sour qualities of the zest.

Tip

  • The leftover syrup can also be used for syrup or sweets. Add some citrus juice and simmer for a few minutes to make a syrup for desserts and ice cream, or to pour over ice chips. And if you have a sugar thermometer, you can then use this syrup to make sweets: simply heat until it reaches 149°C, then pour onto some greased baking parchment. It will cool quickly – when it is cool enough to touch, pick it up in one large piece and work/pull it into a rope. Fold it back on itself and twist, then repeat until it feels as though it is too firm to continue without it snapping – you want to end up with a long twist around 1.5cm thick. Then cut it into sweets with scissors or a sharp knife.
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