Candied Grapefruit Peel & Chocolate Custard
Now that I am in the habit, I remove the peel of all citrus fruits before juicing them. The white pith is bitter and not useful, but the exterior, colored part of the peel, the zest, is a great flavoring agent. I either grate the fruit to produce grated zest, or peel it to produce strip zest. A vegetable peeler does the job well, and the strips of zest hold well in the fridge for quite a few days. This candying technique is from Jacques Pepin.
Makes about 1 cup
1 cup grapefruit strip zest, removed from fruit with a vegetable peeler
1 cup sugar
- Julienne the grapefruit zest. Place in a small pot and cover with water. Heat over a high heat until the water comes to a boil. Then drain the zest and run it under cold water.
- In a small saucepan add the zest, one cup of water, and a half-cup sugar. Bring to a boil over a medium heat and cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes, until the syrup is thick.
- Pour the remaining half-cup of sugar in a small cookie tray. Add the zest and coat with the sugar. Allow to dry for an hour or so.
- Place in a container and refrigerate. If you leave it on the shelf it may dry out too much (if it is dry outside) or too little (if it is humid). Holds for months.
Chocolate Custard with Candied Grapefruit
Chocolate and grapefruit go surprisingly well together. The trick to making custard is keeping the oven temperature low and steady. If the bain-marie—the water bath holding the ramekins—comes to a boil, the pudding will pit. If all the ingredients are not combined at about the same temperature (warm), the chocolate may separate. Custard is easy, yet difficult. Like mayonnaise, it’s all about your sensitivity (isn’t everything?). I sometimes serve candied grapefruit peels with chocolate mousse, or make chocolate bark with candied grapefruit peel. They are all good.
½ cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 ¾ cups milk
4 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Melt the chocolate morsels in a double boiler over a medium heat.
- Place the milk in a small pot and bring to a boil over a high heat, then take it off the heat.
- In a medium sized bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the eggs are light. Add the hot milk to the egg mixture in a thin slow stream, whisking all the time. Stir in the warm melted chocolate.
- Pour the custard into four 1-cup capacity ramekins. Cover each ramekin with a piece of foil. Place the ramekins in a pan with high sides. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour the water into the pan about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Check the bain-marie every 10 minutes or so, to make sure the water is not boiling. Cook for about 40 minutes, until the custard doesn’t shake when wiggled.
- Refrigerate the custard and serve chilled, garnished with candied grapefruit.