Chocolate dipped candied orange
This post is a wee ode to my Mum for having instilled in me the dogged determination to gift things handmade. I remember as a young child taking a sheet of white A4 paper and carefully folding it in two, lining up each edge so that it was perfectly square. Then out came the paints and pencils, the scissors and glue and from it would emerge a canvas bursting with colour, playful brushstrokes and childlike forms. 25 years later and I find I follow much the same process, though the results (I like to think) are much improved!
If it isn’t a card it will be a cake, or a jar of preserves tied with a ribbon and a handmade gift tag, a bunch of hand-picked flowers finished with a fabric bow or, a carefully packaged gift of handmade sweets as this recipe suggests.
Although Easter has now come and gone it is not too late to make these pretty chocolate dipped candied oranges. They make gorgeous gifts wrapped in greaseproof paper and tied with string. These are adult sweets at their best – the tart orange peel takes on a beautifully firm jelly-like texture, the sugar provides a bit of crunch and when all enrobed in deep, dark chocolate it is a truly heavenly combination!
*Almost as delicious as the candied orange is the syrup that is left behind after boiling the peel. It is tart and beautifully fragrant and decanted into pretty bottles makes fantastic gifts.
Makes approx 150 pieces--
6 ¾ cups sugar
2 ½ cups water
300g caster sugar
300g dark chocolate (70% minimum)
1. Score the skins of the oranges in quarter segments. Carefully peel the skin and pith from the flesh being careful not to tear the pieces.
2. Slice each quarter into 5 or 6 pieces depending on how thick you want your slices. Place in a large heavy-bottomed pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and discard the water and then repeat the process twice more. This helps to remove the bitterness from the peel.
3. Combine the sugar and water in the same saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and then simmer for 8 minutes. Add the orange peel and continue to simmer for a further 45 minutes.
4. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 100.
5. Place the caster sugar in a large shallow baking dish. Remove the orange peel from the sugar syrup and roll in the caster sugar to generously coat each piece. Place on the baking tray. Keep the syrup in which you have boiled the peel as it makes a beautifully tart orange sauce perfect for pouring over ice-cream, French toast, cakes and muffins etc.
6. Once you have sugared each piece place the baking trays in the oven and cook for 1 hour. This helps to dry the peel out and make it firm.
7. Melt the chocolate over a bain-maire and dip each piece of peel into the chocolate. Place back onto the baking tray to allow chocolate to set.