Candied Pink Grapefruit

Candied Pink Grapefruit Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Wow, thank you all for such a wonderful response to the Aebleskivers post. I was not the only one who’d never heard of these fabulous little pastry orbs, but most of you had! I was struck by how many stories there were of people eating them as children and in particular from Solvang, California. A destination to be added to my travel plans.

Thanks also to the folks at Aunt Else’s Aebleskivers for sharing this fantastic prize with us. So many of you were interested in their cast iron Aebleskiver pan that they have generously reduced the price for all of you who did not win this time. Now the lucky winner of the Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver mix and pan is Jane! She said the pan has been on her wish list for years and no one has ever gotten it for her. This is your lucky year! Enjoy.

This time of year you find many recipes that call for candied fruits. I use them in my Panettone recipe from Artisan Bread in Five, in a chocolate ginger biscotti, a Trinidadian rum cake, for my granny’s maple brown-butter shortbread cookies or just dipped in bittersweet chocolate. The problem is most of the candied fruit you can find in the stores are flavorless, overly sweet and have a chemical after taste. Not exactly inspiring! Many people forgo the candied fruit altogether in order to avoid these lackluster store bought products. It is a shame, because making your own is so easy and they are absolutely addicting. I make a huge batch and end up eating half of it right off of the drying rack. I love the the color and taste of the candied pink grapefruit, but you can use the same technique to make candied orange, lemon, lime or any other citrus fruit.

There are many different ways to candy fruit but I find this one the easiest. I learned this technique when I was at the CIA from Thomas Gumpel. I think Emily Luchetti does a marvelous job of explaining it in her Four-Star Desserts book. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

2 small grapefruits, washed (3 oranges, lemons or limes)

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar (plus more for coating the candied fruit)

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1 tablespoon corn syrup (this prevents the sugar from crystallizing as you cook the fruit in the syrup)

Pink Grapefruit | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pick beautifully colored fruit and wash it well!

Cutting the skin off a grapefruit | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Cut off the skin of the fruit,

Peeled Grapefruit | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

then cut it into strips and remove some of the bitter pith. Don’t go crazy, it won’t matter that much in the end and you don’t want the candy to be too thin.

Boiling Grapefruit Peels | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the peels. Boil for 5 minutes and strain. Refill the pot with fresh water and bring it to a boil again. Add the peels and boil for another 5 minutes, strain and repeat this 2 more times for a total of 4 pots of boiling fresh water. This process of blanching the peels removes the bitter flavor and is essential to the success of your efforts.

Blanched Grapefruit Peels | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Place your blanched peels in the pot, add the sugar, 1 1/2 cups water and lemon juice.

Cooking Down Grapefruit Peels | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Cook on medium low heat until all of the peels are translucent, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Draining grapefruit peels on a wire rack | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Drain the citrus peels on a wire rack, with a piece of parchment or cookie sheet under it, to catch the drips. Let sit several hours (overnight) to air-dry.

Tossing candied grapefruit in sugar | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Toss the candied peels in sugar! They will last at room temperature for a couple of weeks.

Congratulations again to Jane! I hope you enjoy the Aebleskivers.

Here are some things that have been added to my essential holiday wish list, mostly suggestions from YOU!

Hand Blender
– I use it for sauces even certain truffle mixes.

Classic Bread Knife

– for those of us who take pictures of all our food and don’t have hand models!

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42 thoughts to “Candied Pink Grapefruit”

  1. Congrats Jane!

    Zoe, I have *always* wanted to make candied grapefruit peels. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. These look so good! And they’re pretty, too.

  2. Hi, Zoe

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I have a question: when you say “add the fruit”-you mean peel only, right? Or should I add the grapefruit itself?


  3. Hi Zoe,
    Another great tip; I have been making jams and marmalades from bitter oranges and grapefruit and have the peel in the pot for four days changing the water 2-3 times a day to get the bitter taste off after blanching them once, I guess this way I save the time and do the jam the same day! What do you think?
    Seasons greetings, best wishes from us.
    S & S

  4. Zoe, you always make everything look so easy. I am really intrigued by the candied fruit, and think I might give it a try! Thanks for always making your blog so enjoyable and fascinating!

  5. My mother made these for years. She had a cousin who worked for Sunkist and she used to send a box of oranges and a box of grapefruit every year. I can’t say I quite acquired the taste as a youngster but maybe now in my old age I might actually enjoy them. The funny thing was that there was a friend at school that loved them and I would take them and trade him for the things my mother would never buy like Hostess Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s. Probably a epicurean sacrilege but what’s a kid to do growing up in the home of a healthy gourmet.

  6. Hi Conrad,

    This reminds me of my childhood. My parents never gave me candy or any of the stuff other kids would get for lunch. I would always try to trade for Twinkies or any other junk food. I appreciate the foods they fed me now that I’m in my 40s, but back then I wanted a peanut butter and fluff sandwich so badly! 😉

    Try the candied citrus again, I bet you’ll love it!


  7. I wish I had seen this recipe before I made the panettone out of “Artisan Baking in 5.” My candied orange peel from another cookbook came out fairly soggy and needed to dry for much longer before I got the texture I wanted. Thank you.

  8. Wonderful all around! I found that using a vegetable peeler made very quick work of removing the white pith. Using a peeler you can easily control how thick you make your slices.

  9. Hi Lace,

    If the syrup is not bitter than I would reduce it down just a bit and use it as a citrus caramel sauce for ice cream or even under a cake.

    Best, Zoë

  10. My stove takes a while to boil water. To speed things up, I brought a big pot to a boil, with enough water for the four rounds plus the final sugar syrup.

    Thanks for posting the recipe. Like so many of your recipes I can’t wait until it’s ready to eat!

  11. Oooooooooooooooh! I was goolge searching for good grapefruit images, and I came across your candied grapefruit peel page… I’d just eaten 2, and had the peels almost completely intact, so now I’m trying it! (I guess I can quit GRRRRRRRRRR-ing at my camera being 120 miles away just now, and appreciate the serendipity!) So far they’re delicious! THANK YOU! 🙂

  12. Looking lovely. Can’t wait to give ’em a shot 🙂 but ummm I’m a huge fan of chocolate and orange together. So could be add these candied peels in melted milk chocolate, replacing the white sugar coating?

  13. Hi Zoe!
    Just made this the other day. House smelt wonderful! I haven’t dipped them in chocolate yet but did try the syrup over Christmas morning waffles. Yum! I think the syrup might be good with club soda or carbonated water for a summertime drink.

    Thanks for showing an easy recipe!

  14. I made these yesterday and they came out bitter. I boiled and drained them 4 times, but maybe I did not remove enough of the pith?
    The texture was perfect, though. I’ll have to try again.

  15. I’m newly married, and just getting my foot in the door…er, kitchen. So I’m always looking for new things to try. Here I was, throwing away all of my citrus peels. What a fantastic recipe! Thank you so much!

  16. This recipe is wonderful thank you for sharing! Also my house smell wonderful land I have kept the last 2 portions of boiling water with the grapefruit slices to cut my citrus vinaigrette that I am making right now yay! And with the actual grapefruit I have made sorbet.

  17. Hi Zoe,
    Can you please post a recipe for a good Christmas fruit cake – the Trinidadian rum cake would be nice too 🙂

  18. I came across this on Pinterest, and the poster thought that while they were tasty, there was some bitterness. Reading through the comments on your original post, someone asked for suggestions on what to do with the left over syrup, and you mentioned in in your response, “if it’s not bitter”. My questions then are, not having made or really eaten candied citrus rinds before, is it natural for them to have some bitterness? Is this bitterness inherent in only the grapefruit? What would adding salt to this process do, given that salt blocks the bitterness and allows grapefruit’s natural sweetness to come through, or balsamic vinegar?

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