I don’t quite know why we took on this challenging and time-consuming endeavour, but the yumminess – or should I say nominess – at the end was totally worth it!
Given the healthy diet we were on, Mom and I started eating a lot of grapefruit, this gave mom the idea of using the peel rather than chucking it out. Although to be fair we are very good and compost everything in the back garden, which in turn feeds dad’s veggie patches.
So we took 6 oranges and 6 grapefruit and took off the peel and sliced it, removing any extra pith. We boiled all the sliced peel in water, for at least 2 hours, I left it longer and changed the water several times. The aim here was to remove the bitter taste that the rind and pith have through the water (the way you remove salt from a ham through soaking it). It also softened the peel and you definitely had to leave it boiling until the pith went clear on the peel, sort of translucent. I noticed that this happened in the grapefruit more so than in the orange.
Once that was done strain them and make up a 1 to 1 sugar syrup, ie. 1 litre of water to 1 kilo of sugar. Use this measurement until you have all the peel in a pot and completely covered in sugar syrup. Bring to the boil and add 3 tablespoons of sugar once it is cooling down mixing it in until dissolved. Leave to cool overnight in syrup.
The next day, and the following seven days repeat this procedure, boil, cool and add 3 tablespoons of sugar. What you are doing is saturating the peel with sugar so as to perfectly preserve the pretty little creatures! Nom nom nom.
7 days later, drain them, and I chose to save the delicious orange syrup that was left and it has proven a hit on a bit of toast (it’s like marmalade without the rind) or drizzled over ice-cream! Once drained pop them out in single layers and leave them to dry this could take a couple days. You’re looking for them to be really dry and small sugar crystals forming on the outside!
To cover them in chocolate, temper the chocolate you’d like, we used dark chocolate but milk is nice too! Tempering chocolate prevents the over drying and splitting of chocolate and that awful crumbling after several melting attempts. Melt two thirds of all the chocolate you are using, melt in a microwave or in a bowl over hot water.
Remove from the heat and stir. Add the last one third of chocolate and stir in while the already melted chocolate cools.
Dip the orange candy into the chocolate, touch off the side of the bowl and place to dry.
Serve with coffee as an after dinner petit fours or just as a scrumptious treat. Nom nom.