Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shimmering Candied Orange Peels and a Cast that Glistens

Yes. He's adorable. He's also hard-working and talented. He carries the show in a cast of 22 adults and kids and he's ten years old. When you work with kids, you know that's as good as it gets. In between the frenzy of opening Stuart Little, baking an Italian cookie a day for The Examiner and you know - the Christmas stuff, I took an evening off to concoct some candied orange peels.
But first Stuart - that's the mouse with his mother - having just rescued her engagement ring from the bathtub drain.

In one of my favorite scenes, some cats menace a pigeon. (Conflict in a children's play!) They glowed opening night. The show is a confection, a sweetness and they had all of that plus humor, insight into acceptance and finally - a responsive, grand audience. So I could go back to my kitchen.
I am planning on making an almond-ricotta pudding and some panettone bread. Both call for candied orange and lemon peels.

My orange peels were thick - I cut the peel off - and sliced them into 1/4 inch pieces. I then boiled them for one minute - four times (you drain the water and start anew) until they were soft.

Some recipes have you cut the peel off with a vegetable peeler but then they are too flimsy to hold up to the sugar syrup.

Add 3 cups of sugar to one cup of water. Stir to dissolve and then heat to boiling.

Add your peels and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. You want the coating to be thick and shimmer on the peels. The peels should start to look translucent. Mine took an hour.
Put wax paper under a wire rack, drain the sugar syrup and let dry for 6 hours. I let them dry over night.
They will adorn my Italian Cookie Christmas platter, be eaten from their airtight container at whim and be put into Italian Christmas desserts. They glisten also. Just like my cast.

I had a heavy hand when I dipped them into chocolate.

But no one minded. Because they're gone.

I hid a few to use for baking. My tree remains undecorated, my Christmas decor are in boxes - but the shimmery, glistening days are here. Onstage and at home.


chow and chatter said...

oh these look great and so happy you shared the pics of Stuart Little looks fab


Angie's Recipes said...

Stuart, the mouse looked so happy on the picture!
Candied orange peel....mmm....I like citrus sweets.

theUngourmet said...

The play looks wonderful! I would have loved to see it with my kids. It looks like so much fun!

Your orange peels look delicious. I'd love to give them a try!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Wow that sounded like a delightful play, he is a adorable...did I miss who he was to you? I thought maybe this was a grandchild or nephew? Read it twice and the pictures are so cute...delicious orange peel never made this one, but will try now with all the oranges we have in abundance here.. thanks for sharing this heartwarming story

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

I've always wanted to make candied orange peels but thought they were way beyond my skills. You made it sound and look very easy. Thank you for that!
Great looking play! I do love that you share them with us.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Orange just makes me think Christmas. You cast and costumes look top-notch.

If we were neightbors, I'd unpack your decorations and hopefully pleasantly surprise you!

Mary Bergfeld said...

I do peel for the holiday as well. Yours looks wonderful and I can almost taste the treats you're going to use it in.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Stuart looks adorable. I love this recipe for orange peels, especially dipped in chocolate. This looks like a great gift for the holidays!

Barbara GF said...

What a fabulous-looking cast you have there, Claudia. Your heart must be so filled. Brava!
I've always wanted to make candied orange peel and now you have inspired me, much like your cast of shining stars, no doubt.

Katy ~ said...

Stuart is ADORABLE!!! What a great costume. Oh my gosh, my face is hurting from smiling so wide because he's so cute!!

Yummmmmmy candied orange peels!!

figtree said...

I dont think a mouse could get any cuter! These look yummy!

Velva said...

I am saving this recipe. I love candied orange peels and this would go great with a cheese and fruit platter or antipasti. I need to make both for the holidays. Thank you!!!

Reeni said...

Stuart Little is adorable! I want to make these! I have ordered everyone to save their orange peels in a bag in the fridge!

Claudia said...

Oh - thans for such sweet comments about Stuart - the mouse. He is no relation to me - he walked into my audition and well ... was perfect. what director's dream of - the perfect person for the role.

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Stuart looks adorable!
Orange peels and chocolate is a scrumptious combo that never fail :)



Anonymous said...

The candied orange peel sounds amazing dipped in chocolate! Stuart is so cute! Wish my daughter could see the play!

rosasdolcevita said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe!! I bet you can do the same with lemon peel. Will definitely keep this one book marked!

rosasdolcevita said...

The play looks wonderful! Wish I was there to see it!

Heather S-G said...

Oh, they're beautiful! I've been wanting to make candied oj peel forever, but just haven't made myself take the time yet. Urgh. Stuart Little looks like so much fun! And know what...my tree is not decorated yet either.

Cathy said...

Candied orange peel dipped in chocolate! Now that's a holiday treat.

I'm going to my granddaughter's Christmas program tonight. Can't wait.

Kim said...

I loved seeing the pictures from the play. Candied orange peel sounds absolutely delicious, especially with a heavy hand on the chocolate :D Isn't that the only way to go?

Janet said...

Wow, you sure have been busy! Stuart is adorable, glad the play went well.
I'm not surprised that the orange peel is all gone- it looked wonderful!

OysterCulture said...

Thanks for allowing us a glimpse into your world. Stuart Little was one of my favorite books growing up, and I imagine that putting the play on is just incredible. I was in 4H growing up and participated in many a play so have an inkling of an idea of what you're going through.

I love the candied orange peels, very festive and fancy!

My Little Space said...

Congratulations, Claudia! Sounds like everything went well in that play. I'm so happy for you. I'm so proud of that little guy as well... It isn't an easy job! Cheers.

Kiyi Kiyi said...

What a fun play and GREAT recipe!
I love it! Yum!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Mmmhhh, delicious!

Have a wonderful week, dear!