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Candied Angelica Recipe

Candied Angelica is a sublime confectionery delight. Angelica, with its unique flavor profile, has been gracing European cuisines since the Middle Ages and is renowned for its alleged medicinal benefits. It’s time to transform this historical gem into candied Angelica, a treat that promises to add a touch of gourmet sophistication to your dessert repertoire.

Understanding Angelica

Before we delve into the candying process, it’s crucial to understand what Angelica truly is. Angelica Archangelica, often simply known as Angelica, is a perennial herb that thrives in northern regions. It is distinguishable by its lofty stature, umbrella-like white flowers, and a sweet, earthy aroma. Notably, it’s the stems of this herb that we will be transforming into candy, a practice that dates back centuries and was particularly beloved in the refined sugar circles of France and Italy.

Preparing Your Angelica

The first step in creating candied Angelica is to prepare the herb itself. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Harvest: Angelica is best harvested just as the plant begins to bloom. This is when the stems are most tender and succulent, ideal for candying.
  2. Clean: Rinse the stems thoroughly to remove any soil or debris. Pat them dry with a clean cloth.
  3. Blanch: To remove bitterness, blanch the stems by boiling them in water for a short period, then plunging them into ice water.
  4. Trim: Once blanched, cut the Angelica stems into manageable lengths, typically 3 to 4 inches, depending on your preference.

Creating the Simple Syrup

Candying Angelica requires a sweet bath, also known as a simple syrup. This concoction is composed of equal parts sugar and water. Here’s how you can create it:

  1. Mix: Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar fully dissolves.
  2. Simmer: Allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer without stirring it further.
  3. Cool: Once the syrup reaches a simmer, remove it from the heat and let it cool down slightly.

The Candying Process

With your Angelica prepped and your simple syrup at the ready, it’s time for the transformation. Follow these steps for perfect candied Angelica:

  1. Immerse: Place the Angelica stems into the warm simple syrup, ensuring they are fully submerged.
  2. Slow Cook: Return the saucepan to low heat and let the Angelica simmer very gently in the syrup. This could take an hour or longer; patience is key.
  3. Rest: Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the Angelica to soak in the syrup overnight. This helps to deepen the sweet infusion.
  4. Dry: The next day, carefully remove the Angelica stems from the syrup and lay them on a wire rack to dry.
  5. Cure: Allow the candied Angelica to cure in a cool, dry place for a few days until it becomes translucent and slightly firm to the touch.

Storing and Using Candied Angelica

Once your Angelica is candied, storing it properly is essential to maintain its quality. Wrap the stems in parchment paper and store them in an airtight container. Kept in a cool, dry place, your candied Angelica can last several months. Now, as for using it, the sky’s the limit. It’s a stellar addition to various desserts, from cakes and pastries to ice creams. It can be chopped and added to sweet bread dough, or even dipped in dark chocolate for a decadent treat.

Final Thoughts

Candied Angelica is a jewel in the crown of traditional confections. Its sweet, subtly herbal flavor and jewel-like appearance make it a unique addition to any baker’s toolkit. Whether you’re a seasoned confectioner or a budding home cook, mastering the art of making candied Angelica is a rewarding endeavor that pays homage to the rich tapestry of culinary history. So why not give it a try? Your taste buds will thank you.

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