My childhood candied memories

I remember that as a child, every Sunday afternoon my father and I went to the Sicilian pastry store in my town. He used to buy a bag of almond paste cookies decorated with green or red candied fruit and they were all for me! I really liked them, they was my favorite snacks.

Now that I’m grown up, even though I no longer have a sweet tooth, every time I see candied fruit my mouth starts to water.

 

Sicilian Cassata with candied fruit

Sicilian Cassata with candied fruit

The origins

Candied fruit, as great-tasting as it is beautiful, is also known as glacé or crystallized fruit. It ‘s a Sicilian specialty used as a dessert or as a decorative element of other desserts, such as the Sicilian Cassata and the Milanese Panettone.

The real inventors of candied fruit were the Arabs who exported it to the Western world when they dominated southern Europe around the sixteenth century. Glacé fruit is also known in China and in the Middle East.

 

Candied chocolate covered orange peel

Crystallized chocolate covered orange peel

The process

The process of candying is long, but not complicated.
The entire fruit or small pieces of it or just the peel, is boiled in a sugar syrup or honey (this essentially acts as  a natural food preservative) and left to rest for about a week. Through osmosis the fruit releases water and absorbs sugar. Finally, the fruits are heated in order to evaporate the water and the procedure is repeated until the fruit reaches the desired concentration of sugar. This ancient method of candying has been started again in recent years by Pasticceria Giulio in Capo d’Orlando and their original Sicilian candied fruit is sold on Gocce di Sicilia.

The most common crystallized fruits are citrus fruits, but you can also find candied pears, cherries, plums, peaches, dates, chestnuts, pineapples, ginger and rose petals.

So which one is your favorite?

 

Candied oranges

Candied oranges

Candied Kumquat

Crystallized kumquats

Candied grapefruit

Glacé grapefruit

 

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