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AlaMoi

Any experts on Greek candied lemon peel?

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last century (! true !) I was in the Navy, in the Mediterranean, on a big gray boat with funny numbers painted on it, anchored off Athens/Piraeus - and a local threw a big bash.

 

presented was a finger food - candied lemon peel.  stunningly delicious, never have found out how to make/replicate it.

 

particulars:  
it appeared to be just the white of the rind - no 'skin'
- odd, as that is most often touted as the bitter part
it was quite thick
it was sugar crusted

 

this probably requires a specific lemon variety for the thick thick skin...may not exist around here....

any ideas / experience on how to reproduce this snack in USA?

 

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I saw Jacques Pepin do something very similar with oranges.  Here's a video...

 

 

He uses the peel, but says you can use the rind if you blanch it more times.  He also shows using a knife to get thicker slices (again, more blanching required).  He also mentions using lemons and other citrus fruits.

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I hope Andiesenji will pipe in here since she is probably the forum expert on candied peels.

 

I always use the pith (but still attached to the peel) when I do candied citrus of any kind - but yes you do have to boil them several times. You might try it with a pomelo or perhaps a thick skinned grapefruit and use just the pith (which, by the way, I believe is actually very good for you nutritionally) if you can't find thick skinned lemons. The Jacques Pepin video posted by IndyRob is the basic 'fast' procedure though. I roll mine in sugar too when the candying part is finished.


Edited by Deryn (log)

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8 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

presented was a finger food - candied lemon peel.  stunningly delicious, never have found out how to make/replicate it.

 

@AlaMoi, can I ask what candied peel recipes have you tried and what citrus you have used in your efforts to replicate the confection you were served and how have they failed to measure up to the original?  

I only ask as it may help narrow down the options.

 


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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I candy lemon peel and have done for decades.

Look for the lemons with the rougher appearing skin with large "pores" as that indicates thicker peel.

And try to get the largest lemons you can find.  

 

Observe my method of removing the peel as I demonstrate on an orange HERE.  

Flatten the peel and cut it into long strips instead of crossways as I do with the orange.

 

You have to boil the peel in three changes of fresh water to get rid of the bitterness.

 

If you want just a small batch, use the microwave method.  It works just fine but you have to watch it constantly, sugar boils over.

Set the vessel on a paper plate so if it does boil over, the cleanup is easy.

 

The standard method of candying is simmering the parboiled peel in simple syrup, starting with a 1:1 sugar/water ratio 

until the pith just begins to look slightly translucent

and then in a 1 1/2:1 ratio  until the peel and most of the pith is translucent

finish in a 2:1 ratio until it is fully translucent  

 

Times can vary, depending on how thick the peel is.  

 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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being a fruit cake baker , , , I've candied all kinds of things, the basic concept is pretty clear.

 

the pith of these lemons was a solid 5+ mm - quarter inch or so - I've not found any such thing in USA.  cut into 'dices / cubes'

 

I'm hoping one of the international members may know / recognize the lemon treat and be able to provide a bit more info on the lemon type and if-it-is-any-different-than-a-mark 1-mod zero candy thing....

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I hope you get the assistance from an international member that you are seeking.  

 

43 minutes ago, AlaMoi said:

the pith of these lemons was a solid 5+ mm - quarter inch or so - I've not found any such thing in USA.

 

In the meantime, I cut a slice through a locally grown California lemon that I juiced a little while ago.  The pith was probably somewhat compressed by the citrus reamer so it may originally have been a bit thicker but I think you can see that the thickness of the pith falls within the range that you cited.  With some variation, I'd say this one averages ~ 8 mm or 3/8 inch. 

IMG_2750.jpg

 

I do see lemons with thicker pith.  As @andiesenji said, it's usually the larger, bumpier ones.

 

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22 minutes ago, natasha1270 said:

Not an expert but is it possible that it was candied citron?

 

http://www.olivetomato.com/candied-greek-citron/

Glad you asked because the same thought had entered my mind. 


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no - not citron.  I asked and was told it was lemon rind - and I did at the time get a very brief "peel it, soak it, cook it" type explanation.  I was also 'plained it was a large lemon - from the hand gestures something close to a grapefruit in size - which is why I've always thought it might be a 'only in Greece' type thing....

 

I guess "they" only send the skinny thin skinned lemons east - not encountered a lemon of that skin size! 

although I have to say ,,, Giant produce department offerings are marginally adequate to downright awful. 

time to shop around a bit....

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In that case, I would suggest selecting lemons the opposite of how you would normally choose them. Instead of ones that are heavy for their size, look for ones that are light for their size (less fruit/more pith).

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"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

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If there is a Middle eastern store in your area, check there.  The local one here carries a couple of different types of lemons, one has the thicker "coarser" skin with deep pores and is preferred by the locals for candying the peel.  

I phoned today and was told they are "Cyprus lemons" and John sent me a photo.  They are very large and the rind is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

And the skin looks "warty".  

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 3.48.37 PM.png

They also carry "sweet lemons" which are globe shaped and have a thinner, slicker skin with tiny "pores" and which are similar to the Mexican sweet limes (yellow) but not exactly the same.

 

I have candied just about very type of citrus that can be found in California or Mexico.

An ex neighbor, with whom I am still friends and see often, has a brother in Ojai who raises "fancy and exotic" citrus and sells direct to hotels and restaurants.  

My neighbor has brought me various fruits over the years, enormous oranges the size of grapefruits, huge lemons, buddah hand, pomelos and limes as well as bitter oranges for marmalade.

 

Most citrus is very easy to candy.  Limes are tricky because some turn an ugly gray instead of remaining green and you never know which ones are going to do this until the cooking in syrup is underway.  

And the drying after candying is also tricky.  Take it too far and you get a tough, leathery result.

You need a coarser than regular granulated sugar for the final coating. 

I like the Mexican "azucar" raw sugar.  Or you can spend more money on the "sparkling" sugar designed for coating.  

I found this photo on a site about Cyprus/drinks/lemons.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 4.03.33 PM.png

 

 

 


Edited by andiesenji Adding a comment and a photo (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I am still really wondering if the 'lemon' was not a pomelo. The thickness of the pith certainly fits the description. And you said it was only the pith so I am not sure what colour other than what most piths might be than whiteish or perhaps yellowish.  candied pomelo rind recipe with pics  and wiki about pomelo

 

What language were you and the person you talked to speaking? Were you both fluent native English speakers? I ask because there may have been something 'changed' in translation perhaps? Perhaps the word for pomelo (or some other citrus fruit) was incorrectly or non-specifically referred to as a 'lemon' maybe? And, in my experience, pith from a number of different citrus fruits tastes similar, especially after being boiled and candied. Your memory may indeed be very correct, and this was a lemon with a very thick skin, but perhaps there are other options too.

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the language . . . my Greek is so bad it does not exist (g)  the nice lady was perhaps 50'ish, she spoke a little English, so it was a discussion of a few words and lots of hands.  she told me the name and held up the dish of lemon being served for use on the octopus....accompanied by "bigger" and a set of cupped hands...

 

Cyprus lemons sounds suspicious - the pix of pomelo also fits the bill.

 

a local Greek Orthodox church recently did a big fund raising dinner - the main dishes were quite so-so but the desserts were absolutely out of this world.  I asked around and drew a blank; makes one wonder if this 'treat' was something especially local/regional.

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"""4 thick-skinned organic lemons or 2 lemons and 2 Seville oranges
Zest half of each fruit –you can use the zest to make lemon curd– then score and remove the peel in segments and cut it into triangles...."""

 

I can be quite dense at times.
if you zest half of each  fruit, does that mean one uses both the zested pith and the 'unzested' whole peel / rind in this recipe?

but anyway it doesn't resemble the dish in question - thanks tho.

 

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I don't think it is you, AlaMoi .. I too think that recipe is written very badly. I gave up guessing exactly what that author meant too especially since she listed no expected yield so one can't tell if one is really only using 2 (out of 4) lemons (if one uses the lemons only) for the peel and the rest for juicing. It is pretty obvious (from the picture) that what she thinks we will produce is what I would term 'candied peel' (consisting, mind you, of both peel and pith) so why else would you essentially discard the PEEL from two of the 4 required fruit. The juice can come from the fruit used for peels since the interior of the fruit is not used in the actual final product. /boggle

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Interesting. I didn't think it was so cryptic, especially with the photo there. I think she's zesting half the fruit in an attempt to create a pattern on each piece. Stripes, sort of. Look at the photo, and you can see that a type of pattern emerges on each piece. I also thought she was using the rind of all four fruits, but the juice of only two. That seemed pretty clear to me. It also seemed that the white pith was the star of the show here, not the thin yellow rind, and I thought that was what the OP was asking for. Well, I guess not. Interesting how people can look at the same thing but see it so differently, 

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I guess that is a possibility, cakewalk - but even that was not clear. By 'half the fruit' I thought she meant either zest half of a lemon (which half? top/bottom/left/right) or she meant zest 2 out of 4 of the lemons (or 1 lemon and 1 orange or both lemons or both oranges) and I certainly wondered 'why'. I didn't see that 'striping' on the final product - never occurred to me to search the picture for it. I thought cutting the peel in triangles was enough especially once something is candied small details often are not that visible. But, then again, maybe those are huge pieces (I went by the size of lemons and oranges I am used to and the seemingly large number of pieces in the picture and figured that the pieces must be small but it is hard to tell from that picture). When I zest I don't create tiny stripes (unless I am told to) because I use a rasp-like tool (as many do - in my case because it is fast and my old 'strip producing' zester just would not stay sharp and I got frustrated with it a few years ago) and it creates tiny slivers of zest and large areas of pith showing. Thanks for your comments because it got me to look at the picture again to see what you were talking about - I thought the gradations were just the way the light was or where the syrup stuck which made parts of the end product look lighter.

 

For me, your entry was not wasted at all. It was interesting to read that recipe so thanks for adding it (though this is not my thread). AlaMoi did indicate pith was the objective .. but I took that to mean that all the peel had been stripped off - perhaps not.

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the pith, nuttin but the pith . . . lottsa pithie thickie stuff.

 

it was not candied skin&rind&pith&whatever.  very thick almost pure white pith that was still tender to the tooth.

 

I have the feeling unless someone who instantly recognizes the 'dish' trips over this, I'm not likely to ever learn the secret....

it's obviously not something that is widespread&common.

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