Candied Orange Peel

Dulce de portokal

About the Recipe

Coiled strips of orange peel are poached in a fragrant citrus syrup. This glossy sweet treat is wonderful with your favourite ice cream or makes a divine dessert topping. They are also delightful with a crusty buttered scone or a roska coffee roll. In Rhodesli tradition it is customary to have delectable spoon sweets on hand to offer guests usually with coffee, a tisane, or a chilled glass of water.

Ingredients

4-5 large thick-skinned oranges (about 2kg/41⁄2lb), rinsed under hot water and dried

For the syrup: 9 cups caster (superfine) sugar

3 cups water juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons

1 cinnamon stick 2 tbsp orange blossom water

You will need: fine toothpicks.

Preparation

Lightly grate the thin bitter zest of the oranges with a fine Microplane grater without removing any of the white pith beneath. Discard the zest. With a sharp knife score each orange vertically into 8 segments avoiding cutting into the flesh. Carefully remove the peel from each segment, keeping the peel in one whole piece. Set aside the flesh for another use.

Place the peels in a large heavy-based pan with cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Drain. Fill the pan with fresh water, return the peels to the pan, bring to a boil again for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well. Roll each piece of peel into a tight coil. Push a wooden toothpick through the centres so they do not unravel.

Prepare the syrup: Rinse the pan and add the sugar and water. Dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium-heat for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the orange and lemon juice, cinnamon stick and peel. Boil for about 5 minutes without stirring, until it forms a thick syrup. Reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the peel is soft and translucent and the syrup thickly coats the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat, add the orange blossom water and let the preserve cool.

Ladle the peel into warm sterilised jars. Pour the syrup over the peel to cover. Seal the jars tightly and store in a cool dark place.