Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let the season begin

And just like that, we're hurtling towards Christmas.  Wasn't it just Hallowe'en?  Wasn't it just early October?  So now we sit, on the edge of the cliff, ready to base jump into "the holiday season."  Some have already taken the plunge, diving headlong into the lights and trees and garland and bows.  Others hang back from even peering over for another few weeks.  Me?  I'm gearing up to rappel down for a bit, easing into things so that I don't miss a lot on the way by.

I began playing Christmas music the other day.  Just a little, and mostly instrumental.  I'm not ready for full fledged choirs singing Angels We Have Heard on High yet.  Though I'll admit that I've begun dreaming of a White Christmas and longing for a little snow (it was 17C yesterday).

And I've begun... no, not baking.  I don't bake a lot at Christmas.  I've begun making candy.  I found a bag of my beloved Meyer lemons on the weekend and spent part of yesterday turning them into candied peel (and some bonus lemonade and Meyer lemon infused simple syrup). 
Yes, only one picture. Photoblogger I'm not.
I's so simple to make candied peel.  Last year I made quite a bit.  I love nibbling on it through the season.  The kitchen smelled amazing (until I shattered the plastic spray bottle of vinegar, anyway).

Candied Citrus Peel

2 Cups citrus peel
Boiling water
2 1/2 Cups white sugar, divided
1 Cup water

Scrub the fruit to remove any wax (organic is worth it here).  Peel it and cut the peel into strips (I make mine pretty narrow - think shoestring fry).  Place in a medium saucepan and cover with boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain and repeat 2 more times (it helps to have a kettle of recently boiled water handy).  If you're doing grapefruit, you may want to repeat the process for a total of up to 5 times, as it tends to be more bitter.

Meanwhile, place 2 cups of sugar into a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water, over medium heat.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the blanched, strained peel and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the peel is soft and translucent.

Strain the syrup into a container to save and spread the strips of peel on a wire rack set over foil or parchment.  Once cool, toss them in the remaining sugar.  Epiphany moment - I added a little citric acid as well, to cut some of the sweetness and complement the lemon flavour.  It's wonderful! Spread the pieces out again, keeping them separate, and leave them to dry for several hours, or overnight.

These can be dipped in chocolate, nibbled with a cheese and nut tray, or chopped up to add to fruit breads, muffins and cookies.

Oh, and I've also been replaying our kick off to Christmas last year.  The amazing Chorus Niagara Flash Mob that we got to witness.  Still the best way I've ever started the holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Well, well, well. This would have been handy a little sooner. Mine turned out...ok. But your instructions are more detailed and I realize now that I should have boiled them much longer (the second time).

    I'll try again. I like the idea.

    I can't seem to find a wire rack here yet. Does no one make cookies??

    Thanks for posting this.