Sephardim enjoy nothing more than a saucer of ambrosial citrus preserves, chased with a demitasse of strong, black coffee. In the candying process, pink grapefruits turn dark amber in color; white grapefruits become golden.
3 large, unblemished white or pink grapefruit (about 3 pounds)
About 3 pounds sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
Weigh the grapefruit. Weigh out an equal amount of sugar.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove and discard the thin layer of zest. With a fine grater, smooth the surface of the white pith. Place the fruit in a large bowl of water. Soak for 2 hours, then drain.
In a large saucepan filled with boiling water, boil the fruit for 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and repeat the process. Drain again and allow to cool. With a sharp knife, quarter the grapefruit. Carefully slice away and discard most of the pulp, leaving about 1/4 inch of fruit along the rind.
In a large nonreactive pan over low heat, dissolve the weighed sugar, 3/4 cup water, and lemon juice, stirring occasionally until all grittiness disappears, 15 to 20 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Skim off the foam. Using a sharp knife, pierce each rind in several places. Continue cooking, turning the rinds every 15 minutes, until they turn translucent and acquire a deep orange color and the syrup turns light amber. This could take up to 2 hours.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the rinds to a 2-quart glass jar. Pour the warm syrup into the jar through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any trace of foam. Seal and store at room temperature for up to 6 months. Serve the wedges of candied grapefruit in a decorative bowl.
Adapted from The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine from Morocco by Kitty Morse and Danielle Mamane (Ten Speed Press, 2001). Copyright 2001 by Kitty Morse and Danielle Mamane.
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