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Candied Ginger & Lemon Peel for baking and garnishes

November 24, 2015

I've been making my own candied ginger for several years after realizing exactly how easy it is to make at home. For this holiday season, I wanted to bump up the flavour with a simple mixture of candied ginger and lemon peel to use in my holiday sweet breads and Christmas cakes. The mild spiciness of the ginger balances the slight bitterness of the lemon peel, and the candied fruit (and root, of course - we'll just call it all 'fruit' for simplicity) has an appealing chewy texture that holds up to kneading and baking in cakes and fruit breads.

The nice thing about making your own candied ginger and lemon peel from scratch is that you get to decide exactly what shape they will be, rather than the boring standard bite-sized squares and medallions sold in stores. I wanted thin shreds of lemon peel and ginger for my Christmas Panettone Bread, so I sliced the fruit into little strips - slice your lemon and ginger however you'd like it to look in your own baking, keeping in mind that larger pieces may take a little longer to cook down and candy.

 

Candied Ginger & Lemon Peel

Ingredients

4 inches fresh ginger root

2 lemons with bright, smooth skin

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water (extra for steeping fruit)

Yellow food colouring (optional)

 

Begin by peeling the ginger root and washing the lemons to remove any wax and dirt from the outer peel. Using a vegetable peeler, slowly peel the lemon skin off in long wedges, avoiding most of the white pith layer below, then slice each piece into chunks, bite-sized pieces or julienned thin strips as you prefer for your baking and garnishes.

Place lemon peel and ginger to a medium-sized saucepan and add enough water to completely cover the fruit. Boil on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, then drain off the water.

Add one fresh cup of water and one cup of sugar to the pan, turn heat down to medium and continue cooking another 10 -12 minutes, stirring occasionally. The lemon will lose some of its colour during cooking, you can infuse that bright yellow hue back into the fruit by adding a few drops of yellow food colouring at this stage.

When the liquid has cooked down to a thick syrup with the consistency of honey, remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and spread out on a wire rack or parchment-lined baking sheet to cool and dry for one hour. (Save the leftover syrup for sweetening your afternoon tea, tons of flavour).

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to three weeks, use in baking and as a garnish for desserts.

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