Chocolate dipped candied clementines

It seems the thing to stick on your Christmas tree / wreath / elf this year is a dried orange slice.

I’m not without guilt on this one. But I have to say I much prefer eating food to looking at it. So here’s a recipe for something pretty similar to a dried orange slice. Save it’s dipped in chocolate and very moreish.

Candying citrus fruit is really easy – just simmer in a sugar syrup for a couple of hours, then dry out in the oven for a few more. The result is that the zest becomes soft and loses much of its bitterness, and therefore edible. Then you just dip them in dark chocolate (tempered, if you feel like it). There’s a bit of mess involved at this point. But it’s a tasty mess, which is the best kind.

You could, if you wished, candy slices from a mix of fruits – clementines, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit. Just make sure the skin is fairly tight to the fruit. For once, easy peelers are not what you’re looking for.

These will technically keep perfectly well for 4-6 days in an airtight container kept the fridge. Maybe more. I say technically, because I found it pretty hard to avoid sneaking one every time I went to take the milk out.

Chocolate dipped candied clementines

Makes c.18 pieces

  • 3 clementines (nb skin should be tight, not easy peeler)
  • 200g sugar
  • 200g water
  • 100g of 75% (or more) chocolate

Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and stir so that the sugar completely dissolves and the liquid is clear. Turn the liquid down to a gentle simmer.

Whilst the water is coming to the boil, use a very sharp knife to slice the fruits into rounds that are 3-4mm thick. Put the fruit in the simmering water and place a little greaseproof paper on top – pushing the fruit under the water.

Simmer very gently for 2 hours.

With ten minutes to go, set your oven to 80C.

After 2 hours, very carefully drain the liquid from the clementine slices – reserve it and use as a cordial or for cocktails.

Put a silicon baking sheet or greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Gently remove the clementine slices and place on the sheet. Put in the oven to dry out for 2 hours.

Once 2 hours is up, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the slices cool. You can put these in an airproof container and finish the chocolate dipping process at a time convenient to you.

To dip the chocolate, set up a bain marie (sauce pan, water, stove top on moderate heat, glass bowl that fits in the pan without touching the water). Break the chocolate and put in the bowl. Melt the chocolate. Consider tempering the chocolate if you want to be certain of a lovely ‘snap’ and glossy coat, but it’s probably not essential.

Dip the slices in so at least one half is coated. Leave to rest on the baking sheet and move that to a cool place, so that the chocolate hardens.

Store in an airtight container.