Friday, July 29, 2011

Candied Orange Peel- Why Can't It Taste Like Fouchon?

Blobs of chocolate-covered orange peel (without the rack)-- big mistake, July 2011.
Perhaps it's unreasonable to expect my first attempt at making chocolate-covered candied orange peel to come out like the unbelievably delicious version I ate at Fouchon Paris during my honeymoon, but I always think it's good to high standards.  Sadly, it didn't work out all that well this time.

I love candied orange peel and I'll eat it anyway I can get it.  Good, bad, mediocre... I love it all.  I even like the jellied kind from Trader Joe's.  So when I got tired of making marmalade and couldn't figure out what else I could do with all the sour oranges on our tree, I figured I couldn't go wrong with candied orange peel.

I scoured the internet and many of my cookbooks, including my great-grandmother's Inglenook Cookbook for recipes.  Eventually I invented a recipe that seemed to have the most common elements from the handful of recipes I found.  This was my first mistake.

I should have just tried the best of the recipes as written.   I make this mistaken fairly often and it frequently leads to disaster... or at least a mediocre result.  I don't know why I still  continue down this path.  I guess it's because I usually find one part of a recipe that doesn't look quite right and I think, "If I only add this part from the first recipe and that part from the second, I'm sure it will work out."  Live and learn.

Here's the recipe I tried.  It yielded a not-too sugary orange peel with a non-glossy chocolate surface.   (The best part was the chocolate covered marshmallows I made for the girls with the leftover chocolate.)  It was a somewhat disappointing enterprise, but I think I'll look through some old confectionary books and try again.
A trio of confections drying, July 2011.

Chocolate-Covered Candied Orange Peel


Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized oranges
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 18 cups water (16 for blanching peels, 2 for making simple syrup)
  • 10 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions:

  • Slice the ends off four oranges.
  • Using a paring knife, slice the skin off the orange with some of the pith.  (I wasn't too particular about this since my oranges were fairly thin-skinned and the various recipes I looked at seemed to have different opinions about keeping the pith on or taking it off.) 
  • Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in s medium sauce pan.  Add orange peel and blanche for 3 minutes.
  • Strain off the water repeat the blanching process using fresh water.
  • In the meantime, create a simple syrup by bringing 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil in a second sauce pan.
  • Add the blanched orange peels to the simple syrup and simmer for approximately 45 minutes.  Be careful to watch the pot so that the water does not boil off.
  • Remove orange peel from the simple syrup and drain on a cooling rack until orange peel is completely dry.  This took two days at my house, but I suppose it depends on the temperature and humidity.  (Several recipes suggested that the peel would be dry in less than 24 hours.)
  • Melt 10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate over a double boiler.
  • Dip the candied orange peel into the chocolate and fish it out of the chocolate bath with a fork.
  • Place chocolate-covered candied orange peel on a cooling rack until dry.  (Some recipes suggested drying the chocolate-covered orange peel on parchment paper, but this yielded a very lumpy-looking candy as you can see from the photo above.)