Trouble with Candied Fruit
I need some help with a recipe. I'm trying to make this orange confit I saw on nytimes.com
I've noticed that things don't behave the same way in my kitchen then other places. I rely on my thermometer when I want to simmer because fairly often I get no bubbles until it's practically boiling. The recipe calls for a very low simmer and I need to know what that is in terms of temperature. Is it 180F? This is also cooked in a highly concentrated sugar solution so the boiling is going to be a bit higher. Does that mean I need to be near 200F?
I've already made this once exactly according the the recipe but it doesn't seem to be absorbing the sugar at all. Playing around with the bubble rate gives me temperatures between 140F to 210F. It's much easier for me to just find the right temp then to figure out what it should look like.
Simmering is about 200° although chefs dispute that 200° is not really the most appropriate simmering temp, and it's actually 180°. For your concentrated sugar solution, I'd go to 200°.
Then I looked at your recipe. "Lowest possible heat" is mentioned for cooking temp; that's really more like poaching than simmering. Poaching is 160° to 180° and so you're not cooking these oranges for a 3-4 days, rather than a possible 16 hours over two days, I'd go with 180°.
I love how the recipe states that the oranges will be done when very tender "from 1 to 8 hours." What is this time period based on, the texture of oranges? The oranges candying in the sugar? It's such a big variance in cooking time.
You made this once already, how long did it take for the oranges to become tender and candied?
They became soft after 7 hours but definitely weren't candied. I was very dependent on the "lowest possible setting" remark so I wanted to make sure I wasn't over cooking. There's a video that says they are suppose to sink to the bottom after awhile because they become heavy with sugar. I never really had that happen and didn't have enough time to do this for a third time. I really think the heat was way too low the entire time.
One factor could be the altitude you're at, if you live in Denver, your boiling point will be different than in New York City. A second factor could be your stove, gas is sligtly easier to control to get to a bare simmer stage. If you have problems with getting the dial just right, you may want to try using a heat diffuser which is a hollow metal pad with perforations which people used to use to keep their coffee pots warm on the stove without it getting too hot and burnt.