Candied Orange Peel
This is a recipe that I leaned from my dear and loyal friend Naushab. Always the one to arrive early for parties at our home, he is also always the last to leave. He has a way about them that speaks of his thoughtful upbringing, patience, generosity and rich Pakistani heritage. Originally from Lahore (fabled to be the Paris of the East), he has every bit of that Lahore charm that my grandparents’ generation spoke of. Naushab makes his Candied Orange Peel as a gift during the holidays. It’s also a lovely hostess gift. Chopped finely, it’s a wonderful addition to chocolate and vanilla ice cream. This is really a gift that never stops giving—after the orange peel is gone, save the simple syrup and the sugar leftover from sugaring the peels for sweetening lemonade, iced tea, fresh fruit or cocktails.
2 large oranges
9 3/4 cups water
2 3/4 cups sugar
4 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods, crushed
Use a channel knife or vegetable peeler or peel off thin strips of orange peel from the oranges (you should get about 40 strips from each orange). Take care to remove just the orange zest and not any of the white pith (the pith is very bitter).
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the orange peels and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the water and add another 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, simmer 10 minutes and drain. Repeat with another 3 cups of water.
Place 3/4 cups of sugar and 3/4 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and add the cloves and the cardamom, mashing the cardamom pods into the bottom of the pot so they release their flavor. Add the orange peels and boil for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Place 2 cups of sugar on a baking sheet. Use a slotted spoon to remove the peel from the saucepan, placing it on top of the sugar. Roll the peels in the sugar, shaking the baking sheet to make sure that each peel is adequately sugar coated (if the sugar becomes to wet, add some more to the baking dish). Store the peel in a glass jar for up to a month.