{Day 2} Candied Fruits For Sweet and Savory Treats

The Winter fruits can become jewels under the right conditions. There is magic in the glistening, translucence that comes from the candying process. As the days grow gray and the light turns to darkness sooner and sooner I love the deep vibrant colors that sparkle on the plate.

The real miracle is it’s so easy to do and delightful to give.

I’ve come up with three different candied fruits. Pear Slices, Spicy Tangerine Sauce and Candied Ginger. Yeah, I know, the ginger is nothing really new- but the resulting leftover syrup you get from the process is going to be used for a future post for something I promise you will adore- so don’t discount the ginger.

Making jewels by candying fruit is basically a two step process. First the fruit is combined with sugar, either directly in the case of the pears, or in a syrup. Next comes the heat. The pears are baked for a short while and then flipped, and the ginger and tangerines simmered in the syrup until it reaches it’s translucency.
I’ve paired the pears here with some blue artisinal bleu cheese and toasted walnuts. A lovely gift is to put the trio into a package. But the pears are also great along with a chunk of high quality chocolate for a dessert plate. My friend Priscilla Martell, a cookbook writer, chef and all around exceptional person- shared with me a link to an artisanal cheese maker in Connecticut for Cato Corner Farm. She says, “One of those little local success stories.” If Priscilla recommend them I suggest you might give them a look see.
The tangerines are remarkable. I cannot begin to tell you how delectable they are. The sweet tangy orange is made bright with a hit of chili flakes. Shown here drizzled over a goat cheese log- but can I tell you? Set this up with some ice cream and your friends will get down on their knees and praise you.
I recommend packing the Tangerines in a jar with the slices ringing the outside of the jar and then fill the middle with the chunky syrup. The presentation is show stopping.
Packaging is always where it’s at and can transport the mundane into a delight. If you plan to put the pears into a bag I recommend using cellophane. This will prevent them from getting sticky, which is what happens when placed in plastic.
The same with the ginger. Though the ginger would be excellent in a jar as well.
*Check the Holiday Resource page to find links to find bags, bows and jars*
Pear Slices
recipe taken from Donna Hay Magazine
 
Slice pears on a mandoline or in even 1/8 inch slices.
 
Press each side into sugar and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet
 
Bake at 350˚ for 15 minutes~then flip the pears and bake another 15. Take care doing this since hot sugar can cause nasty burns
 
Once out of the oven carefully transfer the pears to a drying rack and allow the pears to fully dry. If you live in a humid place placing the rack in a turned off oven with a pilot light will do the trick.
 
 
Spicy Tangerine Sauce
a Gail Watson recipe
 
This recipe is in ratio, so you can make as little or great as you would like. I used 3 tangerines for the recipe shown
 
Slice top and bottom off of the tangerines and reserve. Make 1/8″ thin slices of half of the fruit and rough top the other half, including  the tops and bottoms.
 
Measure out the volume of fruit and place into a sauce pan.
 
Next add equal amounts of sugar and water to the pot- 
2c tangerines:2cups sugar:2cups water
 
Add a generous pinch of chili flakes and 3 star anise cloves to every 3 tangerines.
 
Bring all to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. 
 
Simmer the fruit for 30 mins or until the rinds are soft and the slices are translucent.
 
Can properly into jars, or jar and keep in the fridge for 3 weeks.
 
Warm sauce over cheese is amazing.
 
 
Candied Ginger
 
This is another ratio recipe. Purchase ginger that is firm and thin skinned- which is spicier in the end. Older ginger is fine if that is all you can find, but nothing dried out and shriveled. The ginger shrinks as you cook it, so get triple the volume you will need.
 
Scrape the skins off the ginger using a teaspoon. This works remarkably well and preserves the most flesh. It’s also so much easier to work around the knobs and ends.
 
Slice the ginger into 1//8-1/4″ slices. I made coins, but you can do long strips etc.
 
As above, into a pan measure 1:1:1 ratio of ginger to water to sugar.
 
Simmer in pan on the stove until the ginger is tender. Mine took a good 30 minutes, but it will just depend on the thickness of your slices.
 
Strain the slices and RESERVE the syrup (I’ve got an great use of it in a future post)
 
Lay the slices on a drying rack and allow to dry to a tacky state. This is important. If you rush the sugaring process you can end up with a gooey mess, so be patient.
 
Once dry enough toss the ginger in some sugar and you’re good to go!
 
{btw-I used this gingered sugar for the pears- can’t say it really added anything, but it couldn’t hurt}
 
Keep the ginger in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out. It will keep for 3 months if stored well.

 

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