The ultimate chocolate and orange candy
With their simple, perfect expression of flavor and great contrast of snappy and chewy textures, orangettes are a delight to those who adore the combination of chocolate and orange. Click through the slideshow to learn how to make orangettes at home.
Prepare the oranges
Begin by slicing the tops and bottoms off the oranges with a serrated knife. Aim to cut just where the flesh of the orange starts, removing mostly peel.
Cut large strips of peel
Using the serrated knife, cut along the side of the orange from pole to pole, to cut wide, curved pieces of peel off of the flesh of the orange. It's okay if you take a bit of the flesh with you as you cut these slices; you can remove it later.
Remove any flesh
Using a melon-ball scooper, scrape out any remaining orange flesh and discard. This will remove any additional pockets of moisture that can have adverse effects on the chocolate.
Trim the orange slices
Orangettes are a beautiful candy that look even better if you begin with neatly trimmed orange peels. Using a chef's knife, cut off any uneven edges from each of the pieces of peel.
Line up the peels that you've trimmed for cutting into strips.
Cut into narrow strips
Using a chef's knife, cut the larger pieces of trimmed zest into 1/8 inch strips.
Setting up for cooking
Place the sugar, corn syrup and water in a smaller saucepan for making the simple syrup, and place 2 quarts of water in a larger pot. Bring both pots to a simmer. Set up a bowl of water and ice next to the stove, and find a large, heatproof sieve or spider. Once the sugar has completely dissolved in the syrup pot, remove it from the heat and set aside.
Blanch the peels
Once the larger pot of water has come to a boil, place the peels in the water and allow them to simmer for one minute. This blanching will help some of the bitter flavor to come out of the pith.
Remove the peel
Using a spider or sieve, strain out the peels. Discard the water, rinse the pot, refill with 2 quarts of water, and bring the water back to a boil.
Shock the peels
Shock the peels in the waiting ice bath to stop the cooking as you wait for the fresh water in the pot to return to a boil. Once the water is boiling, return the peels to the boiling water for another minute, then strain out as before, but do not place in an ice bath the second time. You'll want the pores of the peel to be wide open from the blanching to accept the sugar in the next step.
Simmer the blanched peels in simple syrup
Once the peels have been blanched twice, set the simple syrup over low heat and add the peels. Bring the pot to a simmer, and allow the peels to simmer on low for one hour, stirring occasionally.
Simmer to infuse sweetness
The peels simmer for an hour to absorb the sugar, turning the bitter peel to sweet. Do not allow the syrup to bubble too much. You want a simmer, not a rolling boil.
Remove the zest
After an hour of simmering in simple syrup, the orange zest and much of the pith will appear a bit translucent. Remove the peels from the syrup.
Spread out to dry
Separate the peels evenly over a cooling rack, and allow them to dry overnight, turning halfway through.
Prepare chocolate for dipping
To get a chocolate coating for the orangettes that is free of white streaks and imperfections, you will need to temper the chocolate. Use chocolate guru Liz Gutman's tutorial to guide you. To prepare for dipping, set your bowl of tempered chocolate on an angle using a towel to facilitate better dipping depth. Also, set up a work area with parchment on a dry sheet tray, the rack of candied peels, and forks for dipping.
Dip the peels
There are several ways to dip your orangettes. I really like the appearance of partially dipped pieces. To get this look, submerge all but the very top of the peel into the chocolate, then pull it out.
Shake off the excess
Then, shake the piece back and forth gently to remove excess chocolate.
Scrape off the bottom
Finally, scrape off the excess chocolate from the bottom of the orangette. This will help prevent a bulbous foot from forming on the bottom.
Slide the finished piece onto parchment to set
Slide the orangette, dipped end first, gently onto the parchment to help avoid having a foot at the bottom of your orangette pieces. Allow them the chocolate to cool and set up on the parchment in a cool, dry place.
Dipping the whole piece
Some may prefer dipping the entire piece into the chocolate. To do this, completely submerge the piece in the chocolate, then remove with a fork. Wave the fork over the bowl, just as before, to remove the excess, then scrape over the side of the bowl, and roll onto the parchment to set.
Allow the pieces to set up
Tempered chocolate will cool without streaking and will have a snappy texture. Allow the pieces to set in a cool, dry place for best results. Store in a cool dry place and enjoy within two weeks.