On March 20, 2009 at 6:48 PM, pastrygirl said:
I had a random thought yesterday that I wanted to throw on the table for feedback: do you think a pressure cooker would have any applications for candying? I've never actually used one and am kind of scared of them, but I was thinking it might be an easy way to soften citrus peel or ginger. If you put your blanched peels and syrup in the pressure cooker, would it all caramelize from too high heat? Would the sugar stick the steam valve together and make it explode? I'm wanting to make a lot of candied ginger via a slightly faster method than Andie's (I am impatient, it is true). Is this a really bad idea and opposite to everything we know about candying, or do you think it might be worth a try?
I've recently candied lime, lemon and mandarin peels with this pressure cooker method, described by Laura Pazzaglia, who posts here on pressure-cooker topics. It's not a high-volume method as the recipe cautions that it is important that the volume be kept below the 1/2 full line of the cooker and that pressure be allowed to release slowly. I'm sure this is to prevent the sort of disaster that @andiesenji describes above, which would no doubt ensue if that caution were disregarded.
While this doesn't address @pastrygirl's need to make a lot of candied product quickly (and wouldn't be much help since it's more than 6 years late!) but if one needed a modest amount of candied peel (say 5-10 fruits worth) to garnish a dessert or other confection, this method can get you there in a couple of hours, with less hands-on time than the microwave method. I used the Instant-Pot electric pressure cooker so it's particularly easy but the recipe includes instructions for both electric and stove-top pressure cookers.
Just thought I'd add this small bit to a great thread that contains so much wonderful information.