Candied Buddha’s Hand

I bought a buddha’s hand at the farmer’s market last week, and it was too pretty not to immortalize with a few pictures…

Buddha’s hands are part of a larger group of fruits called citrons, which are just like citrus fruit without the actual fruit part.

I can’t even emphasize enough how aromatic these are.  When I sliced it open, the whole room filled with an astonishingly strong, bright citrus smell.  You can make infused vodka with citron, but what I really wanted to do was candy it and use it for baking. Panetonne, a sweet Italian bread with marsala soaked currants and citron, is high on the list of potential projects. Hot cross buns could be good too- these recipes don’t always call for citron but throwing in 1/2 c. of candied fruit never hurt anyone.

buddhas hand pieces in sugar water

I’m no pastry chef, so I’m not even going to try and write my own recipe for this one. David Lebovitz most definitely is a pastry chef though, and his recipe for candied citron is right on the money.

draining off the excess syrup

You can refrigerate the candied pieces in their syrup for up to a year, but we have limited fridge space, so I finished the recipe by giving them a dust of sugar and then put them on racks to dry.

candied citron drying overnight

If you can’t find citron, you can also candy citrus peels, which are delicious too, and can be used the same way in baked goods. Hitchiking to Heaven has a lovely recipe for candied grapefruit peels… go take a look. I used the same recipe for orange peels and it worked well, and it reminded me of those strange processed gummi candies that I remember from being a tiny little kid… (mmmm, refined sugar, so tasty!)

candied orange and grapefruit peels

PS. If you make candied buddha’s hand, reserve the juice from blanching the pieces. It might turn out too bitter, but mine didn’t, and will most definitely be going into jelly.