Monday, November 08, 2010

Nut-Free Glace Fruit For Baking

If you're doing holiday baking for a nut-allergic person, buying candied/glace/dried fruit can be hazardous. Nearly every brand I've come across is manufactured in a facility with nuts. I've always made my own candied peel, and cherries (better, cheaper), and now I've made pineapple. Here's how I did it.

Maybe fresh pineapple would be better-I don't know, these turned out well. I drained a tin of sliced pineapple and patted them completely dry between towels. I did a batch of candied cherries earlier, so I was lucky enough to have already tinted syrup to work with, but you can always leave them yellow, or tint as desired with food colouring.

The syrup is 2 cups water, 4 cups granulated sugar. Boil it down until it reduces by 1/4, and cook slices a few at a time until they have a candied appearance. Drain on rack until dry. Cover syrup in same pot to use again later. When slices are dry, re-heat syrup to a boil, re-dunk slices for a few minutes, and turn off the heat. Let sit 20 minutes. Drain on rack. Syrup should be getting thicker and reduced-this is OK. Cover for later. You'll keep repeating this until you are satisfied with how they look and feel. I did seven dips, but it would also be OK to leave them sit in the pot overnight, then drain in the morning to dry. Your call-I've done both techniques with fruit and while I haven't found the overnight soak useful with peel, it worked well with candied apricots, dates, and orange slices.

When dry (the fruit will still be sticky) store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container (I use pint jars, but plastic tubs work too) and keep in a cool place (I use the fridge unless it is really cool in the house). It is easier to chop the fruit for cakes and puddings when cold.

And that's it-really easy.

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