Fruit cake season is just around the corner! For those looking to add a touch of sweetness to their baked goods, candied fruits are an excellent option. Candied fruits are essentially pieces of fruit that have been cooked in a sugar syrup until the fruit has crystallized and become sweet. The process of making candied fruit does require some patience and time, but the end result is well worth it. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to make candied fruit for fruit cake from scratch. We’ll cover the basics of preparing the fruit, making the simple syrup, and the steps you’ll need to take to candy your fruit. Whether you’re a seasoned baker looking to experiment with new ingredients or a beginner looking to try something new, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make delicious, homemade candied fruit for your fruit cake. So grab your apron and let’s get started!
Understanding the Basics of Candying Fruit
Candied fruit is a beloved ingredient in many baked goods, especially fruitcakes. Candying is a process that involves soaking fruits in sugar syrup, which preserves the fruit and imparts it with an intense sweetness and chewy texture. Here are some basics to understand before making candied fruit for your next baking project.
Choosing the Right Fruits
Not all fruits are created equal when it comes to candying. Firmer fruits like citrus, cherries, and pineapple work best because they can hold their shape during the cooking process. Softer fruits like berries tend to break down too much when cooked in sugar syrup.
Preparing the Fruit
Before you begin candying your chosen fruits, you need to prepare them properly. Wash them thoroughly and remove any stems or seeds as needed. Then cut them into evenly sized pieces so that they cook evenly.
Making the Sugar Syrup
The sugar syrup forms the base of candied fruit. It’s what gives it its signature sweetness and chewy texture while preserving its flavor for months on end. To make sugar syrup, combine equal parts water and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until dissolved.
Once your sugar syrup is prepared, bring it to a boil over medium-high heat before adding your prepared fruit pieces into it one at a time until each piece is coated with syrup completely.
Then reduce heat to low so that mixture simmers gently without boiling furiously.
Cook 30 minutes
Keep stirring occasionally
After about 30 minutes of simmering on low heat while stirring occasionally; check if desired consistency has been reached.
If not continue cooking till done.
Drying out excess liquid from glazed fruits helps preserve them for months longer than typical fresh produce would last without preservation techniques applied.
Place slightly cooled candy-coated pieces on rack or parchment paper to drain excess syrup.
Dry at room temp for 2-3 days
Toss in granulated sugar and store in an airtight container
Selecting the Right Fruit for Candying
When it comes to candying fruit, not all fruits are created equal. Some are better suited to the process than others, and understanding which fruits work best can help you achieve the perfect texture and flavor in your candied fruit. Here’s what you need to know when selecting fruits for candying.
Firm Fruits Work Best
Firmer fruits like citrus, cherries, and pineapple work best because they can hold their shape during the cooking process and maintain their texture after being coated in sugar syrup. Softer fruits like berries tend to break down too much when cooked in sugar syrup.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes or tangerines are popular choices for candying because of their firm flesh that can withstand boiling in sugar syrup without falling apart.
Peel or cut into uniform pieces
Remove any excess pith
Cut into chunks or wedges of varying sizes depending on preference
Blanch before boiling 3-4 times
Boiling removes bitterness from peels
Boil until tender
Pineapple is another great fruit option for candying. It has a firm texture that holds up well during cooking while also offering a sweet tropical flavor.
Remove skin and core
Slice into bite-sized pieces about an inch thick
Cherries add beautiful color as well as delicious flavor to any baked good containing them as an ingredient.
Pit cherries before cooking them in sugar syrup so no pits get stuck inside candy coating.
Cooking time should be around 10 minutes longer than other firmer fruit options such as pineapples
Other Fruit Options
There’s no limit to the types of fruit that you can candy; however, some work better than others such as:
Ginger Root: Has high water content so needs to be cooked in sugar syrup for longer time
Apricots: Cut into halves or quarters and remove pits before boiling until tender
Watermelon Rind: Remove outer green layer, leaving only white part. Cut into small pieces and boil until tender
Preparing the Fruit for Candying
Preparing the fruit for candying is an important step in achieving the perfect texture and flavor. Proper preparation ensures that your fruit will cook evenly, absorb the sugar syrup properly, and retain its shape and flavor. Here are some tips on how to prepare your fruit for candying.
Wash Your Fruit
Before preparing your fruit, make sure to wash it thoroughly under cold running water. This will remove any dirt or debris that may be present on the surface of the fruit.
Remove Seeds or Pits
Depending on what type of fruit you’re using, you may need to remove seeds or pits before proceeding with candying process.
Citrus: Cut into uniform pieces
Pineapple: Remove skin and core
Cherries: Pit cherries before cooking them in sugar syrup so no pits get stuck inside candy coating.
Cut Into Uniform Pieces
It’s important to cut your fruit into uniform pieces so that it cooks evenly during the candying process.
Cutting fruits uniformly helps ensure even cooking throughout each piece
Cut larger fruits into bite-sized chunks
Citrus can be peeled and cut into wedges of varying size depending on preference
Blanching is a technique used to reduce bitterness in certain types of fruits like citrus peels which have high levels of bitterness naturally occurring due to presence of essential oils.
Boil prepared citrus peels 3-4 times before boiling them in sugar syrup
This removes excessive bitterness while retaining their bright colors
Drying Before Cooking
Some types of fruits like cranberries should be dried slightly before being put through candy coating process
Dry fresh cranberries by spreading them out onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper then place them under direct sunlight until they feel dry when touched.
The Process of Candying Fruit: Step-by-Step Guide
Candying fruit is a process that involves cooking fruit in sugar syrup until it becomes tender, sweet, and chewy. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to candy your own fruits at home.
Make Sugar Syrup
The first step in candying fruit is to make the sugar syrup that will be used to cook the fruit.
Combine equal parts water and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until dissolved
Bring mixture to boil
Boil for one minute then remove from heat
Add Fruit to Syrup
Once your sugar syrup is prepared, it’s time to add your prepared fruits into it one at a time until each piece of fruit is coated with syrup completely.
Add cut pieces into pot one by one
Make sure each piece is completely coated with sugar syrup
Simmer Gently without Boiling Furiously
Once all the fruit has been added, reduce the heat so that mixture simmers gently without boiling furiously. This ensures even cooking throughout all pieces while preventing them from sticking together or burning.
Simmer for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally
Continue simmering if desired consistency has not been reached yet
Dry Excess Liquid
After about 30 minutes of simmering on low heat while stirring occasionally; check if desired consistency has been reached. If not continue cooking till done.
Remove slightly cooled candy-coated pieces from pot using tongs or slotted spoon onto wire rack or parchment paper lined baking sheet
Allow excess liquid drain off
Dry at room temp for 2-3 days till surface feels dry when touched.
Store Candied Fruits
Once dried out properly, toss candied fruits in granulated sugar before storing them away safely in an air-tight container such as glass jar with tight lid closure.
Store at cool temperatures away from sunlight and heat sources
Properly stored candied fruits can last for up to 6 months
Storing Your Candied Fruit for Future Use
Once your candied fruit is ready, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly stored so that it stays fresh and flavorful for future use. Proper storage techniques can help extend the shelf life of your candied fruit for up to six months. Here’s what you need to know about storing your candied fruit.
Dry Out Excess Syrup
The first step in storing your candied fruit is to dry out any excess syrup that may be left on the surface of the fruit.
Toss in Granulated Sugar
After drying, toss the candied fruits in granulated sugar.
Coating them with granulated sugar helps absorb any remaining moisture and prevents them from sticking together while stored away.
Store in an Airtight Container
Once coated in sugar, store your candied fruits away safely in an air-tight container such as glass jar with tight lid closure.
Glass jars are best because they don’t react chemically with contents
Make sure jar has a tight-fitting lid closure
While properly stored candied fruits can last up to six months, it’s important to check on them regularly to ensure they haven’t gone bad. Look out for signs of mold or spoilage such as discoloration or unpleasant odors.
Freezing Candies Fruits
Candies fruits can also be frozen if you prefer longer storage times than 6 months.
Wrap each piece separately using waxed paper then place into freezer bags before freezing
Frozen candies fruits should thaw naturally instead of microwaving which may cause loss of quality and texture.
What fruits are suitable for making candied fruit for fruit cake?
Candied fruits can be made from a variety of fruits such as cherries, pineapple, orange peel, lemon peel, and citron. You can choose your favorite fruits for making candied fruit for fruit cake. However, keep in mind that some fruits may require a longer cooking time compared to others, so adjust your cooking time accordingly.
What ingredients do I need to make candied fruit for fruit cake?
To make candied fruit, you will need fresh fruits, sugar, water, and a candy thermometer. You may also add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves for enhanced flavor. Additionally, you can use corn syrup to create a smooth texture and prevent crystallization.
How do I make candied fruit for fruit cake?
Start by cleaning the fruit and cutting it into small pieces. Then, in a saucepan, combine sugar, water, and your desired spices and bring it to a boil. Add the fruit and cook it on medium heat until the syrup reaches 240°F on your candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes before transferring the fruit to a wire rack to dry overnight.
How long can I store candied fruit for fruit cake?
Candied fruit can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months if stored in a cool and dry place. Once you are ready to use it, add a dusting of confectioners’ sugar to prevent it from sticking together. Fresh candied fruits will add an extra flavor to your fruit cake, and homemade candied fruit will be healthier and naturally sweeter compared to store-bought ones.