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Candied Fruits

This is an old-fashioned way of preserving fruit in a thick sugar syrup, and while the process takes several days the preparation itself is very simple.

One can buy candied fruits in the shops, but because they are usually im-ported they are expensive. Made at home when the fruit is in season it is very economical. A selection in the store cup-board means you have attractive colourful

decorations for sweets and puddings, additions to- cakes or a sweet meat to be served on its own after dinner. The Fruit

Fruits used for candying should be firm and at the peak of their perfection. The firmer fruits give a more successful

result than the soft fruits such as raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.

Apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, pine-apple and plums are ideal and the fruits should be prepared as for cooking.

Depending on the size of your bowls, it is better to prepare fruit in smaller quantities, otherwise you may find it difficult to keep topping up the syrup. Small fruits such as cherries only need stoning. Larger fruits-apricots, plums,

peaches-should be peeled and then halved or quartered. It is better to candy each fruit separately, otherwise the flavour

of each will be lost. Weigh the fruit and place it in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is just soft-take care not to overcook the fruit as the end result will not be so successful. Drain the fruit into a heatproof bowl and reserve the cooking water. Syrup

For every pound of fruit make a syrup with 10 fluid ounces of the reserved cooking water and 6 ounces of sugar. Place the water and sugar in a heavy based saucepan, bring to the boil slowly and cook over moderate heat until a thin syrup forms.

Candying the fruit

Pour the hot syrup over the fruit (make sure it is covered with syrup) and leave for 24 hours.

Every day for 3 days, drain off the syrup into a saucepan and add 2 ounces of sugar each time. Bring to the boil and pour the syrup over the fruit.

On the 5th day, drain off the syrup into a saucepan and add 3 ounces of sugar. Bring to the boil and when the sugar is dissolved pour over the fruit. Leave for 2 days, repeat the process and leave the fruit soaking in the syrup for 4 days.

To dry

Using a slotted spoon lift the fruit out of the syrup and spread it out on clean, dry baking sheets. Leave the fruit to

dry out in a very cool oven (100°F) or in a warming cupboard. Turn the fruit occa-sionally so it dries on all sides. It is ready when it is really dry and not sticky. To store

Pack the fruit in wax or cardboard cartons, each layer separated by a piece of greaseproof or waxed paper. Cover with a lid or piece of paper tied round with string. It is important that the containers are not airtight, otherwise the fruit

might go mouldy.

Crystallized Fruit

This gives a sugary finish to the fruit which makes an attractive gift if packed in pretty boxes. Dip the dried candied

fruit in boiling water, drain well, and coat each piece of fruit with sugar.

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