Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sicilian Candied Grapefruit Peels and Grapefruit Infused Caramel with Creamy Pine Nuts

Sicilian Candied Grapefruit Peels
Grapefruit Infused Caramel with Creamy Pine Nuts
I finally caught up with all the peels I had and candied 4 gallons worth of citrus peels. It's interesting to see the variations that arise because, perhaps I got busy doing something else and wasn't paying attention or the peel was a different variety of that particular citrus. In the case of the grapefruit, these peels were slightly thicker than the last batch and took longer to reach the point of translucency. My trick is I slow cook them for HOURS in the simple syrup over a very low heat after initially bringing it to a boil. In this case, the simple syrup became very thick and caramel like and gave a lovely coating to the tangy grapefruit peels. You’ll notice the color is much darker, more orangey than my previous batches, which stayed the color of the yellow fruit. While the flavor is generally intense, so much that it’s hard to eat more than 2-3 strips in one sitting, these are even more so, plus they’re chewy like caramel. I rolled them in sugar and left them overnight on the drying racks, but because of the thicker coating, I had to toss them in sugar again the next morning to lightly coat them.

Usually I save the left over simple syrup and add it to the juice I previously squeezed of that juice. I call it my “Rock Candy Lemonade or Grapefruit Juice” because it gives it that candy type flavor with the acidity of the juice. It really pops in your mouth and is quite refreshing. This time, because the sugar had cooked down, what remained was caramel..it just needed a little butter and cream, but this time I decided against it. I wanted that creamy flavor so I added pine nuts. I decided against toasting them because I was going for the texture of them with the flavor of the grapefruit. I tried it out before actually following through. It was creamy goodness in my mouth...a taste of heaven. In went the pine nuts...I poured it out on silpat and the next morning, cut them in squares, tossed them in sugar so they wouldn’t stick to the jar and filled it up.

The idea is no waste. Every part but the pith of the fruit is used as well as all the sugar. What’s left over from rolling...goes into the pot for the next batch of simple syrup. It becomes a system that works..and draws me into a zen like trance as I go through the process of creating the peels.

I will say, it’s nice to be done....before we go gleaning again...it’s time for a break and to focus on other creative vices.... but the results are delicious.
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