Orange Delight


This is an Olde World candy recipe.
My Northern Italian mother Luigia gave it to me.
As a young girl Luigia's family was so poor that a fresh orange on Christmas morning was unbelievably the highlight of the year. She spoke to me often how there would be a small tree in the kitchen and her father would light the half dozen real wax candles affixed it its branches.  Luigia and her three siblings would watch the dancing flames for a few magical minutes before extinguishing them so they could be enjoyed for several nights.
In order to make best use of this rare and expensive fruit last for more than 5 minutes the peel was cut into strips, cooked in a sugar syrup and rolled in sugar. The process served as a form of preservation as well as flavor. This recipe uses two whole oranges to make 32 chewy sweet treats.

2 whole fresh oranges, blemish free
granulated sugar
raised rack for air drying (see picture above)

Cut the two oranges into strips, as follows:
  • cut off 1/2-inch of the top and bottom of each orange
  • cut each orange in half, pole to pole
  • cut each half in half
  • cut each quarter in half
  • with a sharp knife cut the white pith away from the orange pulp
  • ensure there is no pulp that adheres to pith, use a spoon to scrape off pulp
  • cut each strip in half making two strips
  • there should be 32 strips total
Place trimmed orange strips in a sauce pot and cover with cold water. Simmer over medium high heat for 3 minutes, then drain.  This boiling process removes any bitterness 

REPEAT above.

After cooking the orange strips twice, place the drained strips back in the sauce pot, cover with water and add 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer again for 20 minutes and leave in the sugar syrup until cooled. Drain.

Place strips on a raised rack to dry, 2-4 hours until just tacky to the touch. Place strips in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar, toss to coat evenly.

Place sugar dusted strips back on the rack to dry for 24 hours.  Strips will have absorbed sugar and appear wet. Repeat process of tossing in a bowl of sugar again to coat and dry on the rack.  You may need to do this a third time depending on how warm and dry the environment.  Strips should finally feel dry and a little tough. They should not be spongy and soft when pinched. You may also use a food dehydrator with the vents fully open.

Store in a well sealed container and refrigerate.

OPTIONAL: Partially dip each finished strip into melted semi-sweet chocolate and let firm up.