My father, Jorge, loved these delightful bites. He must have learned to love them from his grandmother Luisa Fernandez Lichauco, who was one of the first ladies in the Philippines to open up a cooking class in her home.
When I travelled to Spain, I saw these orange peels in cake shops and realized where these delights originated from.
It takes a few days to make these because you have to slowly collect them, unless you are a friend of the juice maker in any of the fine hotels who serve fresh orange juice. And making candied peel does take time. It took me quite a while to perfect these delights but if you have a sweet tooth and love oranges, this is for you.
My father’s eye would light up whenever I would gift him with these. He knew that it took a lot of time and love to make them.
Candied Orange Peel
Preserve orange peels by turning them into these chewy, gooey, delightful bites.
- 5 navel oranges that have been cut in half and juiced out - cut each half into 4 triangles
- First boil:
- 2 cups (400 grams) sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Second boil:
- add 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
- Fresh start to candy:
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Equipment needed:
- 1 copper vat (if possible) or a large wok
- 1 air dryer or bilao for sun drying
Collecting and preparing the orange peels:
There are two ways to cut the orange to get the orange peel. The first way is to slice the orange in half, like when you use it to make orange juice. After squeezing out the juice, remove the orange segments with a spoon and scrape out as much as you can, leaving just the white part of the orange and the peel.
The other way to secure the peel is to slice out, about ¼ inch from the top and bottom of the orange. Set it aside to remove the attached membrane. Then stand the orange and slice in 8 equal parts. First in half, then again in the next half and the next, till you get 8 equal slices. Now you can eat the orange slices leaving the skin to be used for the candied orange peel.
Now place all the peels that you have collected in a plastic bag and refrigerate them until you have collected what you need.
Cooking the orange peels:
In a large wok or vat for making jams, place the oranges and add enough water to cover.
Now gently bring the water to a light boil.
Continue to boil until with a toothpick, you can easily pierce the skin of the orange.
Stop boiling and remove the orange peels and drain using a colander.
In the now empty cooking vat place the first batch of sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil.
When the syrup has boiled and all the sugar has dissolved and the temperature reaches 90ºC, place inside the vat all the orange peels and turn off the heat.
Gently mix the orange-syrup and set aside till the next day.
Do not refrigerate.
The following day, remove the orange peels from the syrup and place in a colander.
Do not throw the syrup.
With the syrup still in the vat, add the next stage of sugar and bring to a boil.
When it has reached 90ºC, turn off the heat and place back all the orange peels and stir and again leave until the following day.
Fresh start to candy:
On the third day, the oranges are now ready for their last soak.
Remove all the orange peels for the syrup and this time, throw away the syrup.
You now have to make a fresh batch of syrup but this time it’s to just coat the orange peels.
Using the vat, place the sugar, light corn syrup (this is to prevent the crystallization of the sugar), and water and bring to a light boil of 90ºC.
Place back all the orange peels and this time turn down the heat to low and continue to gently mix the sugar syrup with the orange peels.
Continue to do this until most of the syrup has now clung to the orange peels.
Remove from the fire.
While it is still hot, gently place the candied peel in the trays of an air dryer or on a bilao; in single layer.
First they should be all on the pith side facing the container; and then after some time on the skin side.
Start with one hour with the air dryer and the same with the bilao under a hot sun and see if the orange peel has already dried enough; it should not be syrupy.
Continue to dry until the desired dryness is achieved. The orange peels must be tender but not too soft and not too gooey.
Store in a well-sealed jar in a cool place; or in plastic bags.