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
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.