Candied cedro or citron

Serves 4

Cedro is the most lovely, fragrant fruit – its flavour when perfectly ripe can fill a room. They look like huge, lumpy lemons; they are coloured a vibrant yellow and the skin is thick and fleshy, though there is little fruit actually within. They are prized largely for the rind, which is sweet, tender and only very slightly bitter. They are not easy to buy in this country, though it's worth asking your greengrocer. Sadly, you're far more likely to encounter them in candied form.

1 cedro, weighing approx 1kg/2lbs
250g/71/2oz caster sugar
600ml/1 pint water
150g/5oz quality cooking chocolate

Cut the cedro into half-inch-thick slices, then into half-inch-wide strips. Cut away and discard the fruit's centre. Place into

a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over a fairly low heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and repeat this process twice – blanching the strips three times in total.

Return the cedro to the saucepan, cover with the sugar and the water, place over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cook slowly and gently until it becomes translucent – this should take around 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool in the syrup. Drain, discarding the syrup on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Allow your cooled cedro sections to dry in the open air overnight.

The next day, break the chocolate into little pieces and place in a bain-marie on top of the stove; ensure the base of the bowl does not sit in the water. Place over a medium flame and allow to melt gently without stirring – this allows the chocolate to retain its glossiness.

Once completely melted, remove from the heat and dip half the candied cedro into the chocolate, leaving the other half as it is. Lay gently to dry on parchment paper – once set, place in an airtight container. It's delicious served at the end of a meal with coffee.

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