This is my first year spending Lunar New Year, or Tết as we call it in Vietnamese, all alone (other years I have my brother’s family or my friends to celebrate with). Of course I was a bit sad, especially that my mom is in France this year, but I don’t have days off to go to Paris to spend it with her. Luckily I still have Skype to call my friends, and I have my little kitchen to make some treats for the occasion. Tết this year is pretty close to Valentine’s (it was on the 8th), so I wanted to make something that is suitable for both occasions to share with you guys, and Candied orange peel was the best choice.
February in France is usually very cold, and this treat goes so well with the atmosphere. The slightly tangy taste of orange peels combined with the sweetness from sugar and honey makes it feels very warm, and every time I make this treat, my kitchen is filled with the lovely fragrance of orange peels and honey. If chocolate is ‘reserved’ for couples during Valentine’s, then I feel like this candied orange peel makes a perfect gift for friends a family, to show your love for people that you care about.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Mùa của yêu thương: Mứt vỏ cam mật ong
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Waiting time: 8-16 hours (soak and dry the peels)
Cooking time: 1.5 hour (par-boil and candy the peels)
Yields: 60-70 peels
- 250g orange peels (abour 3-4 Navel oranges)
- 100g sugar (for reference)
- 50g honey (for reference)
- Water (from the tap)
1. Wash the oranges, cut into 6-8 wedges. Use your fingers or a sharp knife to pry the peel away from the pulp. You can eat the pulp right away (of course :p) or reserve for later use. Cut the peels into strips about 5-7mm wide.
250g orange peels
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, drop in the orange peels and let boil for 2-3 minutes, then drain and wash well with cold water until the peels completely cool down. Repeat for 2-3 times until the bitterness mellower to your taste. Weight the orange peels again and measure the sugar so that it amounts to 3 of the weight of the peels, and the honey amounts to ½ of the weight of the sugar.
100g sugar; 50g honey
3. Soak the orange peels in diluted lemon and salt water for at least 4 hours or overnight. After the soaking, drain and wash well, let dry. Gently mix in the sugar and honey, let sit for at least 4 hours or overnight, until the sugar and honey melted completely into syrup.
4. Put the peels and syrup in a saucepan, add water so that it barely covers the orange peels, set on medium heat. When the syrup starts to boil, reduce to low heat and let simmer until the peels are translucent and shiny, and are soft but not mushy. It usually takes me 1 hour for this step, but it can change depends on the thickness of the peels, so it’s best to check from times to times.
5. Take the peels out and arrange on a cooling rack, so that the peels don’t touch each other, put a layer of aluminum foil to catch any drips of syrup. Let sit until the orange peels are dry and only feel slightly tacky to the touch. At first after simmering the peels will feel very soft, but after drying they will become firmer and chewier. The drying time will change based on the thickness of the peel, the humidity, etc. I let them sit at room temperature, and it was raining so it took 2 days for them to dry.
After drying, all that’s left to do is to roll them in sugar or dip them in chocolate. I love dipping them in dark chocolate, the bitterness of the chocolate goes really well with the tangy and sweetness of the candied peels , which is very tasty and interesting.
Some additional notes
1. In step one, when draining and washing the peels with cold water, you should wash until the peels have completely cool down before boiling again, if not the peels can easily get mushy.
2. In step 4, you can replace water with orange juice or mix in a bit of alcohol to add more flavours to the orange peels.
3. The left-over syrup can be strained and reserve, it’s very delicious to drink with ginger tea or drizzle on yogurt.
4. There are 2 periods of waiting (soaking and waiting for the sugar to melt) so I usually start after dinner, soaking the peels overnight and drain when I wake up in the morning, mix in sugar and honey, and when I’m back from school all that’s left to do is put it on the stove to simmer.
Hope you will succeed with this sweet treat ❤