Candied peel to go into a panforte

Satsuma peel, just out of the sugar syrup at the very beginning of the drying process

I’m going to be making panforte very soon. One of the absolute keys to its success is that you make your own candied peel to go in it.

It’s not as hard as it sounds and if you wanted to make extra for bagging into presents, just double the quantities. You need to make it about two days in advance so a good idea to make this now if you want to try panforte. I got this recipe from the Waitrose magazine a few years ago, but I cut it down to make just enough (ish) for my panforte.

You need:

The peel from two oranges cut up into strips. Or one orange and one lemon.

You can, in theory (and I have done this perfectly successfully) just use the peel from some satsumas that you’ve eaten. In other words, you don’t really need to sacrifice two perfectly good oranges. Especially given that you’ll be chopping the peel up, not presenting it.

250g granulated sugar

some caster sugar for afterwards.

If you’re using the quantities above, i.e. not very much, use a small saucepan. Put the orange peel/satsuma peel in the saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and simmer hard for 15 minutes. Drain, cover with fresh cold water and do the same, this time cooking it for another 11-20 mins. You want the peel to be tender, but not mushy so watch it if you’re using thin peel from satsumas. Thick peel from oranges may take longer.

Whilst that’s happening, put the sugar in a saucepan with 125ml of cold water. Slowly bring to the boil so the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Drain the tender peel and put it in the sugar syrup. Put the pan back on the heat and simmer for about an hour – uncovered – until there is very little syrup left. Leave it longer if need be.

Be careful as sugar syrup is very hot so whilst you can leave it unattended you do need to make sure you haven’t got any monkey children that can reach this.

When done, lift out using tongs and place onto baking parchment lined baking trays. Leave it somewhere to dry out for two days. I put it in a (switched off) warming drawer. When it’s dried out, put the caster sugar in a small plastic bag (how much you use is up to you, you know like a handful) and throw the peel in, shake it around and you have candied peel! I then leave it back on the tray to set for a few hours before using it.

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