Candied Orange Slices
So, this one isn’t really baking in the strictest sense of the word but it can be used for cake decorating etc. Also, it’s very very tasty so I don’t think it really matters.
I decided to make some candied orange slices at the beginning of the summer because I was making a chocolate orange cake for a good friend of mine. I wanted to decorate it with something pretty and I thought I’d have a look online to see how to make some candied orange segments. I’ve made candied peel successfully before and thought slices would be similar and hopefully look a bit prettier for the top of my cake!!
So I found a few recipes and gave it a go. It went okay and they tasted good…here’s them on the finished cake:
So they looked okay but were a bit clumpy and not quite right. They did taste great though and were a hit with friends and family so I decided a week or so later to give them another go and improvised a recipe myself.
So it’s time to share.
To make this you will need oranges, water and sugar. Simple as that!! And if you want to turn them into an even more indulgent sweet then some chocolate to melt!! You can change the quantities depending on how much you want to make. The most important thing, I discovered, is the ratio of sugar and water to make the syrup. I think that for the amount of water you use, use two thirds that amount of sugar. I used cup measures to make this simple so, for example, if you use three cups of water, add two cups of sugar to this.
I used three navel oranges, three cups of water and two cups of white caster sugar.
The first thing to do is to slice the oranges. Cut them in half but make sure you cut them across the middle and not from top to bottom or through the navel bit. This is because they will look prettier that way. Don’t worry if you accidentally do it the wrong way though…I did…they still look nice and it doesn’t make a difference to the taste! Then cut through the halves to create thin slices. The thickness is up to you but if you do them too thick they will either take ages or won’t really work, so best to keep them quite thin!
I left the end bits out as they don’t look as nice and because they are just peel they won’t cook at the same rate.
So now all the slices are ready and it’s time to sort the syrup out. Put the water and sugar into a large saucepan, heat gently at first to dissolve the sugar.
Then bring this to the boil. Once it’s boiling then carefully add your orange slices, separating them as you go so they don’t all stay clumped up.
They naturally float to the top so don’t be afraid to push them down every now and again with a wooden spoon during cooking so that the same slices aren’t on top all the time.
Bring it all back to the boil and keep it boiling for ten minutes.
After ten minutes reduce to a simmer and leave it simmering away for about an hour and a half. The length of time it takes will depend on the oranges used and how thick you cut the slices so do keep an eye and keep prodding them down every now and then. What you are waiting for is for the segments to go quite transparent and shiny and the syrup will turn very thick and gloopy. If you think they are ready, pick one out with some tongs and hold it up to see it in the light, if its lovely and transparent then its probably done! The pith and rind won’t exactly be completely transparent but they won’t be as contrasting in colour as they would be in a raw orange.
So now that they are done they need to be removed from the syrup and cooled. Take them out one by one using tongs, letting excess syrup drip off of them and place them on a big sheet of baking paper to cool,
This can take a while but be patient because once you’ve picked them all out you will have a beautiful sight before you!
Lovely glittering orange slices! You will also be left with the thick syrup in the pan. My advice is to pour this into a spare bowl or clean jar and keep it in the fridge. It has the most deliciously intense orange flavour! Use it for other bakes or puddings as sauce or cake filling or even as marmalade on your toast! The stuff is marvellous!
Now leave the oranges alone to dry out a bit. It is probably best to do this overnight. If it’s winter and there aren’t many bugs about then you can probably get away with just covering them with another sheet of baking paper and leaving them in the kitchen. However, if it’s summer then do the same and then fold it over on itself and put them in the fridge so that the flies can’t enjoy them!
Here is a close up picture so you can get a better idea of what they should look like when they are done the one to the right is better than the one on the left, they will both still taste great and you will inevitably get some a bit more underdone, but aim for the transparency of this right hand one:
Now if you were going to decorate a cake with these you could use them as they are. However, if you want them for sweets then you need to at least dredge them in sugar otherwise it’s a very sticky experience. Another option is to dip them in chocolate with makes them even better!
I dipped these ones half in chocolate without dredging them in sugar. This meant that they kept their beautiful shine. I think these would be great to top a cake because the stickiness wouldn’t matter so much.
So to dredge them in sugar all you need to do is get a dinner plate and pour a load of white caster sugar onto it! You then need to take a slice of orange and cover both sides in sugar (I tend to drop it onto the plate, bury it under some sugar, then pull it out and shake off the excess).
The sugar will absorb into the orange quite a bit but should stop it from being so sticky. I will warn you that whilst you are doing this you will probably get big clumps of sugar stuck to your fingers!
Now if you want to go that extra step then melt yourself some chocolate. I used Cadbury’s Bourneville because it’s dark so it’s bitter sweetness goes perfectly with the bittersweet oranges!
So you can either half dip or completely dip the slices in chocolate. I did a bit of both. Once dipped, let the excess chocolate drip off back into the bowl a bit and then lay them on some baking paper to dry. It’s a good Idea to lay the baking paper on trays so you can move them around once they are all drying without risking dropping the whole lot! And after all that you should have something that looks like these:
Leave them to harden up and then tuck in! These make great gifts tied in a little cellophane bag with a pretty ribbon, a yummy after dinner treat or, as I say, they can be used as decorations for other cakes or deserts.
They last quite a while and can be stored either in an airtight container or in the fridge, whichever you prefer.
I hope you give these a go because they really are delicious! And quite relaxing to make as well.
So happing baking and candying until next time