Tuesday, December 2, 2008

At Market...Oro Blanco

Oro Blanco...the name means white gold in Spanish and it is easy to tell why. These beautiful orbs are available now at California farmers markets, and should remain in the markets throughout the winter. In 1958 farmers created this hybrid from a pomelo, which is the citrus fruit from which grapefruit descended. It has a yellow rind and sweet, light yellow flesh that contains almost no seeds, and tastes mildly of grapefruit. I would call this the grapefruit for people who don't like grapefruit. It's rind is thick and spongy, just like the pomelo's, but its size is much smaller, more like a grapefruit. Good Oro Blancos are heavy for their size, and will last at room temperature for two weeks and in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Their rind is deliciously perfumed and makes excellent sugared citrus candy, which is exactly what I made this afternoon (more gifts from the kitchen). The recipe is kind to those of us whose days are filled with other important tasks...like holiday shopping!! Each part of the recipe requires little attention, and it can sit patiently waiting, until you return for it.

The rind is removed from the flesh, simmered in water for a time, stripped of its membrane then boiled in a sweet sugar syrup. After awhile, the golden rind becomes glossy and translucent, and covered in delicious sticky sweetness. They are drained of any excess syrup, then tossed in sugar, and ready to eat or use in your favorite recipe. I think they would be delicious in scones or muffins, or just eaten straight out of the bowl, for that matter. This recipe adapted from Local Flavors, is a definite keeper.

Sugared Citrus

2 grapefruits, (or 1 pomelo, or 2 oro blancos, or 3 navel oranges)
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C water
1/4 C corn syrup
superfine sugar for dusting

Quarter citrus and remove flesh. Put rind into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Pour out water and cover again with cold water. Weigh down rinds so they cannot float (I used a smaller saucepan within a saucepan to hold them down). Boil for 30 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let the water cool to room temp. They can be left for several hours or overnight. Remove rinds from water and scrape out white pith. Slice rinds into thinish strips and set aside.

Heat sugar, water and corn syrup in a large pot. When mixture turns clear, add rinds and simmer for 1 hour or until the rinds are shiny and translucent. Most of the syrup will have evaporated. At this point you can let it sit overnight (and let drip the next day) or you can remove to a rack over a cookie sheet to allow excess syrup to drip off as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Toss a few rinds at a time in superfine sugar, and return to rack to dry out for one hour.

Store in a jar, each layer separated by sugar, in the refrigerator.

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