Candied Oranges & Lemons
Oranges and lemons and spice - how nice! Perhaps, but I wonder how many European Christmas treasures have been ruined using the glazed peels and citron that we buy for baking during the holidays. I, only recently, discovered that citron is a fruit, related to the orange and lemon, but with an identity all its own. I had always assumed that citron was candied lemon peel. Citron is valued for medicinal purposes and in the ancient world was mixed with wine as an anecdote to poison - if only Socrates and Seneca had known! While this may be a culturally acquired taste, my palate can't deal with citron, so I decided to follow the example of frugal peasant housewives around the world, and, working from an old recipe, make my own candied peel. What a treat! Fresh candied peel is a confection that will enormously improve stollen, panettone, cassata and Scandinavian Christmas breads, replacing bitterness with the true essence of the fruit. I was also delighted to find that Davis Lebovotiz had come up with a recipe to make crystallized ginger in home kitchens. Now between work, cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, wrapping and keeping the children entertained, you'll have something to fill your idle hours. My work here is done!
1. Peel the fruits, removing bitter pitch.
2. In a medium saucepan (nonreactive) place a layer of sliced oranges and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
3. Place a layer of lemon slices on top and sprinkle with sugar.
4. Continue adding fruit in alternating layers, each time sprinkling with sugar, until all the fruit and sugar are used.
5. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Place uncovered saucepan over medium-low heat and bring fruit and sugar to a light boil, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 minutes.
6. Allow fruit to cool. Stir in Creme de Cassis and serve with chocolate cake or mousse.