Only one month to Christmas and as it will be my first wintery Christmas I am getting far too excited at the prospect of snow, markets, and mulled wine! But it is still 5 days until I can open my advent calendar [technically it is the boys, but there are plots afoot] so I decided to make some very French Christmas treats to snack on, and maybe share, until then. Orangettes are crystallized orange peels that have been dipped in dark chocolate and as a lover of this partnership I’m becoming quite a fan of them. And now I don’t have to send copious amounts to New Zealand, I can simply make them every Christmas instead.
I have recently discovered the French L’Ateliers site and it has stashes of classic French recipes on it. I based my orangettes on this one. But I baulked at the call for 700g of sugar and making two different syrups, so I used a different sugar syrup ratio. I also decided to try it with lemon rind but have decided I’m a purest in this area and nothing beats the orange. All up the whole process does take time, but after you cut the oranges up the rest of the crystallization process can be happening while you do other things in the kitchen. The time spent dipping depends on the strength of your inner perfectionist, hence I took awhile, but quite enjoyed the process and doing something Christmas related. The left over syrup smells like marmalade and I think it would be perfect reduced down with some cointreau and drizzled over cake.
3 Oranges (well scrubbed)
300g Water (300mL)
300g Castor Sugar (1 1/2 cups)
250g Quality Dark Chocolate
Cut the tops and bottoms off the oranges and make 5 vertical scores around the orange rind. This allows you to peel off sections of the rind in whole strips. Cut into thin strips of skin ~ 5mm thick with minimum white. I trimmed mine to a ratio of half/half rind to pith or so they were equal in width on all sides like orange matchsticks.
Place them in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Drain and return to pot. Recover with cold water and bring to a boil again. Repeat a third time. This removes the bitterness of the orange and helps encourage the rinds to absorb more syrup.
While they are coming to the boil for the second time, prepare the sugar syrup. Combine equal weight (not volume) of sugar and water in a medium pot and bring to the boil.
Put the sticks into the syrup and simmer for 40 minutes with the lid off. This reduces the syrup as they cook and replicates the two syrup method. Drain and cool orangettes until they are dry (I left mine over night).
Melt 1 / 2 of the chocolate in a double boiler, then pour over the remaining 1 / 2. Mix all together until melted. This produces a cooler chocolate mixture that stops it oozing all over the baking paper.
Using a fork or skewer dip the peels in the chocolate, let any excess drip off then lay them lightly on baking paper. Once they are all dipped let them set in the refrigerator.