Sunday, December 17, 2017

Candied grapefruit peel dipped in dark chocolate

Citrus is in season here in California. Farmers markets are bejeweled with endless varieties, from blood oranges to Buddha's hand. Apart from my favorite cara cara navel oranges (they have pink flesh that is sweet and juicy like the navel, but less acidic) to aromatic meyer lemons which have always been the staple in my kitchen during winter and an integral part in unlimited number of delicious dishes, juices, desserts, and salads, this year grapefruits have started to show-up on my breakfast plate more often as I've set out to explore this mighty fruit! That is how I've discovered their heavenly match with dark chocolate...

One grapefruit makes ~20 pieces. 

The method for candying peels described below is adopted from Ottolenghi's new cookbook "Sweet".

  • 2 grapefruits
  • 200g dark chocolate
For the sugar syrup:
  • 1l water 
  • 500g sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cloves
How to make candied grapefruit peels: 

1. Blanching the grapefruit peels

Start by cutting a think slice from top and bottom of each grapefruit to reveal the flesh. Then continue with slicing each grapefruit into quarters, and then each quarter in half lengthwise... and so forth. Using a small paring knife, carefully separate the grapefruit flesh from the peel. You need not worry about fully separating the white pith as the bitterness will be removed through blanching which is the next step. In a large sauce pan, bring plenty of water to a boil and then add grapefruit peels. There should be enough water to cover the peels. Using a slotted spoon or a big fork, press the peels down so that they are submerged in the boiling water and simmer for about a minute. Rinse under cold water and repeat one more time, using new fresh boiling water. 
Spread the grapefruit peels on the kitchen towel for few minutes to drain and then transfer on the wire rack to fully dry. (it is important for the peels to be fully dried, or otherwise the sugar will crystallize afterwards in the syrup). 

2. Making the sugar syrup

In a medium sauce pan, place the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves. Cook over medium-heat for few minutes until the sugar dissolves (stirring a few times), and then increase the heat to bring it to a boil. Add the grapefruit peels that are by now fully dry, press them by a piece of round-carved parchment paper and a small plate on top which fits the pan so that the peels stay fully submerged in the syrup. Cover with lid and continue to boil, keeping the syrup bubbling, for about an hour or so more. When the grapefruit peels become translucent (as shown in the photo below) and the syrup has reduced to ~200ml, it is ready. 
Drain the grapefruit peels and place them on the wire rack. (I've used thongs to transfer and separate the peels without breaking them). 
The rest of the syrup can be discarded. 
Draining the peels may take a while, best is if done overnight.  

How to temper dark chocolate for coating: 

Tempering the chocolate is only important when it is used for coating. If not tempered, the chocolate may bloom, i.e. develop white streaks in a day or two. Blooming chocolate (I love how that sounds), doesn't affect its taste, it is only for the presentation that we want to temper it to avoid blooming... 
I've used the method described in this great article: 

It is not complicated at all, only involves one extra step of separating part of the chocolate when initially melting it and adding this part later as it cools down basically.. 

After dipping the grapefruit peels in the dark chocolate and completing drying them again, they can keep in the tight container for about 2 weeks. Their taste is very similar to the candied orange ones, of course, but are more soft and have a new flavor note that is surprising! 

Please let me know how you've liked them if you make them!

Bonus: the house will smell heavenly as the perfumy and tangy aroma of the bubbly grapefruity syrup permeates throughout! 

Bon ap,


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