I've moved to oliverthring.com. You should be linked automatically: if not - click here.


Paul A Young's confit oranges [Recipe]

It's impossible not to like Paul Young: he's a calm and affable Yorkshireman, and an exceptionally talented chocolatier. I went to a tasting at his Camden Passage shop a couple of months ago, which sparked what I suspect will be a lifelong love affair with Amedei. His chocolate pairings can be sublimely inventive; I tried, and adored, his salt caramel ganache, as well as his unusual – and almost as successful – Marmite truffle.

This recipe comes from his new book, Adventures With Chocolate. It's a remarkable, committed and at times challenging work. He dispenses with recipes for truffles and brownies pretty quickly, and proceeds to some extraordinary (if inspirational) combinations: chocolate bars flavoured with frankincense and myrhh and covered in gold leaf, or goat's cheese and lemon ganaches, or chocolate and almond tortellini. He has a brunch recipe of a bacon, Stilton and chocolate spread sandwich. I have to have it.

As he says, these confit fruits are a labour of love: they can take three or four days to dry as their sugars crystallise. But once you've done the initial preparation, they look after themselves till they're ready.

I spiked and spiced the sugar syrup with a splash of Grand Marnier and a stick of cinnamon, which gave the finished fruits a cheery festive note. Half the family will be getting these for Christmas.

You'll need about 100g of tempered chocolate to make these. If you need help with that, this is a good, clear method.

Makes about 40


2 oranges
500g golden caster sugar
100ml Grand Marnier (optional)
1 small stick cinnamon (optional)

Wash the fruit thoroughly. Using a knife, carefully make four slits in the fruit's skin. Remove the skin in four pieces, with the pith attached. Slice these so you have approximately 20 strips per orange.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer the slithers of skin for 3 minutes. Strain and repeat twice. This extracts the bitterness from the pith.

Bring 500ml of water and the sugar to the boil and stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar fully. (I used 400ml of water, 100ml of Grand Marnier and a small stick of cinnamon, to good effect.) Place the fruit strips into the syrup and simmer gently for 3 hours. Keep the temperature very low, as a high heat will caramelise the syrup and make the fruits too toffee-ish.

Remove the pan from the heat, and leave everything to cool overnight. Strain the fruits carefully (retaining the syrup for your next batch or for sorbet) and dry on a wire rack for at least 24 hours until the sugars have crystallised.

Dip your confits into your tempered chocolate so they're half-coated, and leave to dry on greaseproof paper. They'll keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


  1. Nothing can compare to home made confit citrus fruits and (for me at least) they are mandatory at this time of year; I like to use them to simply decorate my Christmas cakes as we're non too fond of the usual icing.

    Amedei is stunning chocolate, I always make sure to stock up when I visit Italy. I once had the joy of going to a tasting session in Pisa, a fantastic day.

  2. a splash of grand marnier sounds lovely. these are such beauties to give as gifts, ollie.

    is amadei now your fave? i am a loyal patron for life to Domori. have you tried it?

  3. Last year I tried to make some of these - not Paul's you understand but a clearly inferior recipe. They basically came out all wet and floppy, even after I'd dried them overnight. The problem was I was doing exactly the same and giving them out as Christmas presents so it was a bit of a massive fail really! I was absolutely gutted to miss that choc tasting you mention and I think a visit to the shop plus the purchase of this book is in order to make up for it. I also HAVE to have that brunch recipe.

  4. p.s - very lovely of you to give them away to your family!

  5. I bought the Paul Young book at the chocolate week show earlier in the year and ive only made one thing so far (the salted pecan praline, which was very good). I have been meaning to give this a go and since these look excellent and I have just enough time, I may get a batch done for Christmas

  6. These sound delicious - I'll have to give it a go next year. Is the book worth investing in?

  7. The Paul A Young book is on my Christmas list, and the chocolate tasting at his shop was possibly the best event Ive been to as a food blogger. These look bloody delicious Oliver. Nice work

  8. George - They're great at Christmas, aren't they? An Amadei tasting at Pisa sounds fantastic.

    Shayma - I have tried Domori. Gorgeous stuff.

    Helen - They can take days to dry. If your kitchen is quite cold or quite humid, then overnight wouldn't be enough for them. You can put them in an extremely low oven for a few hours, checking on them every half-hour - but if you overdo them they go dry and chewy and pretty horrible.

    Edd - Go for it! Well done on the pecan praline. I made some classic muscovado ganache truffles in tempered chocolate shells, which were lovely.

    Lizzie - I'd say it's very much worth investing in if you want to make fairly serious chocolates. It's a work of art and very informative.

    Dan - Cheers! It was indeed a cracking event.

  9. Ooooh! How lovely. I missed that tasting but am a reasonably frequent visitor to the shop. I love it there. The book is on my list. It will be an education for me. These look lovely.

  10. Oooh, the second post of a recipe from Paul's book that I have read today... looks like I'll have to get myself a copy!

  11. Aha! I see! Cheers for the tip. I'll give them another go.