I’ve been going through my kitchen cabinets, and refrigerator…and freezer…and desk drawers, which has meant unearthing all sorts of odds and ends. Some were long-forgotten for a reason, and others brought back fond memories. Like the Pyrex glass container in my refrigerator encasing some remarkably well-preserved slices of candied citron. When I pulled the sticky citrus sections out, I realized that they don’t look quite as pretty as they did last year – which is okay, because neither do I – but they still tasted great. And the flavor of candied citron prompted me to make something I love: panforte.
Results tagged citron from David Lebovitz
A few times I’ve been fortunate to visit the places in Provence that candy whole and sliced fruits. Aside from the usual candied orange and lemon peels, they also candy whole cherries, strawberries, pineapple rings, angelica, Clementine slices, and even whole pumpkins and pineapples. And let me tell you—it’s quite a sight seeing all those glistening fruits lined up on their drying racks.
The first time I paid one of them a visit, I didn’t even need to ask for directions; I just saw the building with all the clouds of steam billowing out of the windows and doors, and went inside.
At home, I frequently candy citrus zest and even citron pieces, but wanted to try to candy long, beautiful citron wedges, like one finds in shops specializing in candied fruits and places like Confiserie Florian (above).
I’ve been having my own little festival of citrus around here, especially because I’ve become addicted to the produce aisle at my local natural food store. They always have an intriguing collection of citrus fruits, many of which just aren’t available anywhere else. I went in to buy bergamots (above, left) and ending up finding not one, but four knobbly citrons. I was poking through the boxes and I almost had a crise cardiaque when I saw four enormous, lonely citrons lolling around all by themselves, being ignored, in a big wooden crate.
They were only €5 per kilo so I bought two, and left the other two for some other lucky American baker living in Paris looking to candy citron.
Last month I was teaching at Central Market, a chain of pretty amazing supermarkets in Texas that has just about anything you can imagine—including cooking classes. And I never pass up the chance to teach there. For one thing, the staff is uniformly excellent and it’s just a pleasure to step into their kitchens and work with them. But the other is that I get to wander the aisles of their supermarkets, which are like no other in the world.
French nut oils, Texas honeys, a crazy machine that shoots out crisp Korean wafers at the ultra-high speed of a shotgun, a homemade salsa and guacamole bar, barbecued ribs that I’m still dreaming about, a excellent selection of British cheddars and French soft cheeses, in-store scratch bakeries, and candy-coated chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, which I’m now (unfortunately) completely addicted to. And those Korean wafers are pretty addictive as well, although the blasting sound the machine makes when firing them out kind of scared me. (I get a little gun-shy in Texas, y’all.)
A few years ago I got a message from a nice young couple that had worked their way through each and every recipe in Room for Dessert, my first book, and wanted me to sign their copy. And let me tell you, these kids were really pioneers, as this was well before the “cook every recipe from the book” blogs got so popular—they didn’t even have a blog!
When I met them, the book was filled with bookmarks and stains of all sorts. Obviously well-used, they really didn’t even need to tell me that they’d made everything in the book. But they did confess that the only recipe they couldn’t make was the candied citron, because they couldn’t find any citron.
I’m happy to say that I finally got rid of the two eggs yolks in my freezer. They were packed together in plastic, then again in foil…and of course, quickly forgotten as over the course of the next few months, got pushed further and further back into the morass that is otherwise know as mon congélateur.
The other morning I woke up, and when I went to get an ice cube for my orange juice (one of my perks–I absolutely have to have an ice cube in my morning jus d’orange), everything came tumbling out. Long-forgotten flax seeds from a batch of seriously-healthy scones I’d planned to make, to six 2-cup containers of egg whites, plus a mysterious little foil-wrapped packet whose name had been scraped off after months of being away by jagged crystals of frost. It was like watching the last six months of baking projects crossing in front of my eyes, with a few things landing near my feet.
So there I was, at 7:04 am, defrosting my freezer in my jammies, reliving my not-so-distant past, taking everything out, and scraping out massive amounts of ice for the next hour or so.