Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Candied Pomello skins- Greek Spoon sweets

When I was a kid, my grandmother Efrosyne always had a pot of spoon sweets on the stove. She lived in a village called Bellapais, in a little Eden of a yard full of different fruit trees. Sometimes it was orange peel sweets, other times bitter orange, fragrant bergamot and, often, it was something we called "frappa." It resulted in a very satisfying preserve.
When I discovered the Pomello, I did what I always like to do with citrus fruit and I scratched the peel with my fingernail. I took one whiff of the aroma and thought, "frappa" this must be the "frappa" of my childhood. At 5.99 a fruit, even though it is a large fruit, sort of like an overgrown grapefruit, it was an expensive treat. Citrus maxima (or Citrus grandis) is a natural (non-hybrid) citrus fruit, with the appearance of a big grapefruit, native to South and Southeast Asia. I brought the Pomello home where we enjoyed the succulent, fragrant pink flesh.

The peel, though, was so nice, thick and aromatic that I thought it would be such a shame to chuck into the garbage.
So, of course I googled it and between what I remembered my grandmother doing and the online recipes I found, I ended up with a pot of candied Pomello skins.

Once it cooled in the refrigerator, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavor transported me to yiayia Efrosyne's house, where long ago I had enjoyed her "frappa" spoon sweets.

Pomello skin Greek Spoon Sweets
Lightly grate the zest from two large Pomellos. Score the skin into 8 long pieces from the navel of the fruit to the other. Remove the skins carefully and peel away the white inside pith of the peel.
Roll up each piece and with a needle and thread, thread all pieces through. This will keep the peel from braking apart.
Place peel strings into a saucepan and cover it with fresh water. Place on the stove at high heat and let it come to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Repeat this step, this time when it comes to a boil, boil for five  minutes. Then drain again and replace the water with fresh water. Again bring to a boil and this time boil for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
lemon peel
1 tspn of lemon juice

In a medium saucepan mix the sugar and water and add the lemon peel. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the Pomello peels and boil for another 5-7 minutes. Stir in lemon and remove from heat.
Store in sterilized glass jars in the refrigerator.

Here's to you yiayia!