I’m really missing the European Christmas markets this year with all the sweet treats and festive atmosphere. Christmas markets always put me in the holiday spirit, and the Glühwein helps with that festive spirit, too.
Since we can’t travel to Germany this year and I can’t gorge on all of the Christmas market snacks, I’m making some of my German favorites at home. I just have to bring the Germany Christmas market to my kitchen!
Stollen and Lebkuchen are traditional German Christmas sweets, and I’m not sure you can celebrate the holidays without them; I’ve never tried. Christmas without stollen would be, well, weird. Both recipes will need candied citrus peel, and it’s so much better homemade than store-bought. Seriously, there is no comparison. We’ll start with the candied citrus peel recipe since it takes a couple of days to complete. It’s not difficult to make, but it takes time to finish the drying process.
I like orange, lemon, and lime for my candied citrus peel mix. You can use grapefruit, too, but I’m not a big fan, so I stay away from it. When you’re buying the citrus, look for the freshest fruit with unblemished skin. I’m making this during COVID stay-at-home recommendations, which means I can’t pick the fruit myself since I’m doing curbside pick-up. I ordered more than I needed, and I’m happy that I did because I had to cut around several blemishes and damage.
The candied citrus will keep for several weeks in an airtight container or even longer in the freezer, but I plan on using it all in the next couple of weeks.
Wash the fruit well.
Peel the citrus and remove most of the white pith from the skin. The pith can be very bitter and, although a little left on will be fine, you don’t want too much.
Then cut the peel into ¼ inch strips.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add the sliced peels. Boil for 15 minutes, then remove the peels and rinse under cold water. Discard the boiling water. You can repeat this step a couple of times to help remove the bitterness.
Set the blanched peels aside.
In a medium pot, add 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the peels to the sugar and simmer on low for an hour, stirring occasionally. The peels should turn translucent.
Prepare a baking tray with a wire rack.
Remove the peels a few at a time from the pot with a slotted spoon and toss with fine granulated sugar.
Lay the candied peels onto the wire rack, separating the peels to keep them from sticking together.
Repeat until all of the peels are on the wire rack.
Allow the peels to dry for a couple of days on the wire rack. If your kitchen is humid, it might take three days.
Store in an airtight container or the freezer.
Don’t throw out the leftover syrup in the pot! You can use it for some amazing cocktails. Strain it into an airtight jar and store it in the refrigerator.