The citron is a species of citrus fruit, characterised by its thick rind and small sections. Generally, it is eaten as a preserve or in bakery items such as fruitcakes. The candied peel rather than the fruit is often used in cooking. It is mostly grown near the Mediterranean, in parts of India, and in Central and South America. In many languages other than English, a lemon is called a “citron” and a lime is called a “limon”. The citron tree blooms nearly all through the year, but mostly in spring, and the spring blooms produce the major part of the crop. The fruit is dark green when young, taking three months to turn yellow.

The Chinese and the Japanese prize the citron for its fragrance and it is a common practice in central and northern China to carry a ripe fruit in the hand, or place it in a dish on a table to perfume the air in a room. The dried fruits are put along with stored clothing to repel moths. In some South Pacific islands, oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of citron trees for the French perfume industry.

Health benefits

In India, the peel is a remedy for dysentery and eaten to overcome halitosis. The distilled juice is given as a sedative. The candied peel is sold in China as a stimulant, expectorant and tonic. In West Tropical Africa, the citron is used only as a medicine, particularly against rheumatism. A leaf infusion is given as an antispasmodic.

The most important part of the citron is the peel. The fruits are halved, de-pulped, immersed in seawater or ordinary salt water and allowed to ferment for 40 days, the brine being changed every 2 weeks; the peel is again rinsed, put in denser brine in wooden barrels for storage. After partial de-salting and boiling to soften the peel, it is candied in a strong sucrose/glucose solution. The candied peel is sun-dried and stored in jars for future use, especially in fruit cake, plum pudding, buns, sweet rolls and candy.

Now, for a recipe.

Candied Citron and Walnut Cake

Ingredients

Unsalted butter: 100 gm

Sugar: 100 gm

Refined flour: 100 gm

Eggs: 2 nos.

Vanilla essence: a few drops

Baking powder: 2 gm

Candied citron peel: 25 gm

Crushed walnut: 25 gm

Reduced orange juice: 10 ml

Method: Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree C. Cream the butter and sugar together till the sugar dissolves. Add the eggs one by one, whisking gently to avoid curdling of the mixture. Now, add the orange juice and orange peel to the above mixture. Sieve the flour and mix it well with the baking powder. Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture, little by little. Gently fold in the crushed walnut. Grease a cake mould or cup cake moulds and pour the mixture till it fills three-fourth of the mould. Bake at 180 degree C for 30-35 minutes.

Executive Sous Chef

Vivanta by Taj-Connemara

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Wrap and rollFebruary 10, 2013