Candied Lemon Peel with Thyme

My husband's paternal grandfather was a huge fan of candied citrus peel, especially if it was dipped in dark chocolate. In fact, I believe he had an aching sweet tooth, given that he owned a sweets shop on Coney Island in the mid-20th century. Funny, though: the husband never developed a sweet tooth. Lucky for him (and his waist). 

I, on the other hand, love sugar. 

Especially if it is sugar paired with something tart and something savory. Enter in Candied Lemon Peel with Thyme.

Making candied citrus peel is a great way to use the rest of the lemon or orange or lime or grapefruit after you have squeezed or juiced or suprêmed the fruit. 

In my fantasy kitchen, nothing goes to waste (in my reality kitchen, I often throw out the peels). 

Pairing your candied peel with something savory--thyme, basil, even lavender--boosts this classic to a new level. Which is just what you need for garnishing cakes, cupcakes, ice cream with addictive blasts of pure citrus flavor

Or just for plain snacking. 

Which, I will admit, I did with the remainders from dressing up this cake. And I don't regret it. 


Candied Lemon Peel with Thyme

Adapted from Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson's Citrus: Sweet and Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes

Makes about 1 cup


3 Meyer lemons
3 cups sugar, plus more to coat
3 cups water
½ tsp baking soda
3 sprigs of thyme

1. Wash and dry the Meyer lemons, and cut into ¼-inch pieces of slices ¼ inch thick.

2. Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the peel, reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer for 45 minutes.

3. Drain the peel and set aside. In the same saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved completely.

4. Add the baking soda and stir well. Add the reserved fruit, adjust the heat so the sugar is barely simmering, and cook for 45 minutes, until the fruit is translucent.

5. Have a wire rack set over a sheet of parchment paper. Using  a slotted spoon, remove the fruit from the pan, shaking off any excess syrup, and spread it on a single layer on the rack. Let the peel dry at room temperature overnight.  The next day, spread some sugar and the thyme leaves on a sheet pan or shallow bowl and roll the peel in the sugar to coat. Store the eel in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months. 

Admittedly, I did not put these in a single layer.  This I came to regret.


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