Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Candied grapefruit peel

What possessed me?

I peeled two of the Chinatown pomelos and followed this recipe by Jacques Torres, later finding that Smitten Kitchen had done the same with poor results - she said they were inedibly bitter! [Torres on the Food Network and Smitten are 1 and 2 in Google search results for Candied Grapefruit Peel...]. Luckily I did not have the same problem. And I don't know what caused hers.

I was worried about the large proportion of pith on my peel, and decided to keep it, despite the bitter! alarm bells. I changed the water 4 times, as directed. While mine are not the prettiest crystallized peels ( I was busy with other things and let them stand in the dusting-sugar too long, so some jagged bits developed) they are delicious. A little bitter (which I like), but more a memory, and very succulant, with a crackly crust of sugar.

But they take a long time. I think it's worth it, though. What nice Christmas presents. If you really want to be silly, dip the ends in good dark chocolate.

Having succeeded with these, I feel I am on my way to making Aquagrill's peerless grapefruit dessert, and my favourite dessert, ever: pink segments topped with a confit of candied grapefruit skins, surrounding the lightest, ethereally pink grapefruit sorbet. It is crowned with a ridiculous, superfluous but artfully poised chocolate biscuit swirl (looking a lot like the hat the mother of the bride wore many moons ago in Cape Town, resembling rather closely an alien spaceship perched on her head, at a wedding I was apparently not welcome to attend, despite having been invited, while she asked belligerently and loudly whether I was actually staying for dinner. It all remains a mystery to me. I remain traumatized, she remains mad. Everytime I see that teetering swirl on the dessert I think of her. So I remove it carefully and don't eat it).

Above, draining the slices after they have cooked in several changes of water. Drying on racks, below, after having been submerged in sugar. I used organic sugar so it's a pale brown colour.

Bitten, the white, bitter pith has been transformed into soft, unctuous, citrus-redolent sponge under a crackle of sugar.

Somehow I feel that a nineteenth century physician may have prescribed these. For something. Relief of a lady's headache, associated with the umentionable time of the month?


  1. Ah ha ..... please bring a tiny, little bottle of grapefruit peels for my New Year present

  2. Those grapefruit peels look delicious, Marie! It's the bioflavonoid naringin that gives the grapefruit its bitter bite, and it's also reported to help reduce blood glucose levels, which would make it excellent for a dessert. I have very good memories of pomelos from my childhood ...


  3. these are gorgeous. i envy your patience. sell them to me marie. before you leave for s.a. hey when do you leave?


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