It’s become quite a tradition in our household, that I make panforte di Siena every Christmas. I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years, and it’s a wonderful holiday treat for both J and I.
One of the key ingredients in panforte di Siena is candied mixed peel. No matter where I looked, I couldn’t find it in any grocery stores. The ones that I did find were psychedelic in color, and I’m definitely not using them! So the first year in the US, I made our Christmas cake with no candied peel – it just wasn’t the same.
The following year, Marissa inspired me to make my own candied mixed peel. I managed to find a few recipes online and decided to experiment. It’s basically, sugar and mixed citrus peel. Once made, it should last a decent number of months and if it ever becomes dry, the pieces can be softened by rehydrating them in hot water for a few minutes.
Now that I’ve made my own candied peel, I can NEVER go back to buying the store mixed peel. Each piece has a crunchy sugar exterior encasing a chewy marriage of zesty-ness, sweetness with a very slight bitterness. The peel is so delicious that you could literally bag them up and sell them! You could also dunk them into dark chocolate for an indulgent zesty treat.
The only downside of making homemade candied peel is the amount of time it takes. So when you do make it, make sure you make a huge batch!
CANDIED MIXED PEEL
Makes about 900 g (1 lb)
Adapted from Waitrose Recipes – Homemade Candied Peel
- 3 x large oranges*
- 2 x lemons*
- 2 x limes*
- 600 g (3 c) granulated raw cane (turbinado) sugar
- 300 g (1 ½ c) granulated raw cane (turbinado) sugar, for coating
* Feel free to use any citrus fruits you like, including oranges, limes, grapefruit, lemons, satsumas or pomelos. I’ve found grapefruit to be best as they have a thicker skin.
1. Scrub the fruit thoroughly under running tap (faucet).
2. Using a serrated knife, slice the tops and bottoms off each fruit, peel each fruit into thick strips, making sure you get at least 3/4 cm (1/3 inch) of pith and zest.
3. Place all of the peeling into a large saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil, and then boil for 30 minutes or until the peel is soft. This can take up to 90 minutes, depending on your fruit. Keep the level of the water replenished with freshly boiled water.
4. Drain the peel and place back into the pan with some fresh cold water. Bring to the boil and then boil for an additional 20 minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water, then cut all of the peel into thin strips, about ½ cm (1/4 inch) thick.
5. Meanwhile, gently dissolve 600 g (3 c) of sugar in 300 ml (1 ¼ c) water, then add the sliced mixed peel. Bring to the boil, and allow to simmer for 2-2 ½ hours, or until all of the syrup has been absorbed by the peel. Stir the mixture occasionally to prevent it from burning. When ready, leave the mixture on the lowest heat setting and proceed to step 6.
6. Place 300 g (1 ½ c) sugar onto a large piece of waxed paper. Drop spoonfuls of the peel onto it. Separate each strand of peel and roll it in the sugar to coat. Place them single layer onto a piece of waxed paper or lightly greased wire rack and allow to dry. This can take anywhere between 3-5 hours at room temperature.
7. Once dry, store in an airtight container and use at your pleasure. Enjoy!