Before me sits the most fantastic jar of candy, a nuclear bomb of goodness. Not only is it the best orange candy in the world, but its amazingly homemade.
Homemade candy this good has a catch though- it takes 2 – 3 weeks to make. So steel yourself and find that zen place of candy patience in your heart. It will be worth it, I promise.
What makes these candied orange slices better than the easier candied orange peel? These candied orange slices retain their pulpy fruit and are steeped in a sugar solution without heat. This minimal use of heat offers up an orange candy that has a more juicy, lighter fruity flavor than candied orange peels have.
Candy Orange Slices
modified version of procedure for candying fruit by Jean-Pierre Wybauw in Fine Chocolates, p70. Wybauw’s method utilizes a sugar refractometer- the following method doesn’t.
- Clean three oranges by scrubbing under warm water.
- Slice into thin rounds. This candying method worked on all thickness of slices I tried up to 1/4 inch thick.
- The slices can be kept as circles, or cut into halves or quarters (hemi-circles and quarter-circles).
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Have a bowl of ice water near by.
- Add the sliced oranges to the boiling water (may need to be done in batches depending on the size of your pot). Scoop from the boiling water when the slices float to the top and place into ice water to cool.
- When cool, drain and remove the slices from the ice water and transfer to a container large enough to hold all of the slices.
- Bring to a boil: 1 kg of sugar and 600 g of water. This step is to just dissolve the sugar (not to cook the syrup).
- Pour the hot syrup over the orange slices. If the orange slices float, weigh them down to keep them fully submerged. Weighing down method I used the first week: placed a plate on top of the orange slices and a glass jar of water on top of the plate.
- Store the submerged orange slices in a dark cool place, like a cupboard or closet for the duration of the candying. I didn’t refrigerate them.
- Each day increase the sugar content of the orange slice sugar solution. Do this by draining off the sugar solution the slices are submerged in, add 100g of sugar, heat the solution to just dissolve the sugar, and pour back over the orange slices.
- Complete this increase-sugar step daily for two weeks.
- I didn’t follow the schedule as written: I skipped a couple days of the increase-sugar schedule, and just resumed the increase-sugar step when I was able to. My impression is that this recipe is not very picky about increasing the sugar each day. I think the variable of time is important though- don’t try to shorten the duration of this recipe.
- Storage: the orange slices may be stored in the sugar solution indefinitely. No need to refrigerate, they can be stored in a cool dark place, like a cupboard.
Drying and dipping
The orange slices are removed from the sugar solution. Finishing can take multiple different routes:
arrange on a drying rack out at room temperature till less tacky, 1-2 days then
- roll in sugar (plain, vanilla, or with a touch of citric acid),
- or dip in chocolate (white, dark or milk- tempered holds up best).
- or you can do both- like in the picture: dip 3/4 of the orange slice in chocolate and sugar the exposed portion.
Storage of finished candies
In an air tight container is best to keep out humidity. I gifted these in glass canning jars or crunchy cellophane bags. The survivors of my nibbling suggest that these candies hold up well: at least a month, probably more.
The subject of your candying is the first variation that leaps to my mind. Keeping your choices in the citrus family is easy:
- buddah’s hand
Finding other fruits and vegetables for this process would be a great experiment too. I don’t know what the parameters for likely subjects are. But here’s some ideas:
- garlic clove
- onion ring
I’d love to hear what you try.
A long process- yes. But the bounty if offers will reward you and your friends over and over.