Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Candied Buddha's hand (aka citron)

Let's play a game today of name that fruit. Any idea what this gorgeously ugly fruit is called???

This, my friends, is called Buddha's hand, which is a type of citron. Google it, you'll see lots of craaaaaaazy photos of this delicious citrus. To describe it I'd say its close in flavor to an orange, but not exactly the same. It's a bit "fresher" and "lighter" in flavor than an orange; like an orange with a hint of lemon perhaps.

But what makes this fruit really unique is that it has absolutely NO FRUIT inside of it. Yup, you read that right- no fruit. It's basically the rind and pith of a citrus with none of the traditionally-delicious bits inside.

Forgot to snap an image of its innards- so here is a great one from Cookistry

So what the hell is the point of buying a fruit without fruit?? Well, in this case, it's the peel/rind we're interested in. Its deliciously fragrant, flavorful, and aromatic, yet much much less bitter than your traditional orange or lemon rind. Which makes it the perfect specimen for candy-ing. (Or jams apparently, although I've never tried it myself.)

Unlike making candied orange peels, you don't have to cut away the super biter pithy part (aka the white flesh under the peel). This is great for two reasons: (1) it's a hell of a lot faster since all you have to do is slice the fruit into pieces and (2) the pith itself takes on a very different texture compared with the peel-- it's almost like a melt-in-your-mouth citrus gummy bear.

I love the contrasting textures and flavors in a single candied piece of citron.

All candied and ready to eat!

Feel free to snack on the peels on their own, but my ultimate way of eating these is to dip them in super dark chocolate. Citrus + chocolate is quite possibly my favorite dessert flavor combination out there.

These chocolate-covered Buddha's hand made a great addition to my 2013 Holiday Treats. And while they're obviously gorgeous as-is, it never hurts to package them up in cute ways.

So if you happen to come across this odd-ball, strange looking fruit- I sure hope you decide to buy one and try it out. Alternatively, candy some lemon, orange, or grapefruit peels and give them a dip in chocolate. Trust me, you can't go wrong either way.

Yours in giving you a helping (Buddha) hand to unique treats,

Candied Buddha's Hand

I don't really have a special recipe for this citron, I simply followed the candying procedure I'd used before when making orange peels. The only difference here is that with the Buddha's hand you do NOT need to remove the pith. First, cut the oddly shaped fruit into whatever sized pieces you want (I liked slices that had a bit of both pith and peel on them). Then, boil the slices a few times in water, and simmer in a sugar-syrup until done. Finally, toss with sugar and store them. Check out my post on orange peels for the step-by-step instructions.

Note: citrus peels will go bad eventually if you leave them at room temp for too long. If they'll be out for more than a week or so, refrigerate the candied peels to prevent them from getting moldy.


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