Stress Relief (Anne-Sophie Pic’s Grapefruit Confit)

I was reading through blogs the other day and I managed to work my way into a right, old, self-indignant tizzy, and those never end well, do they?

This tizzy came about as I read one blog post after another about how stressed someone was and how much they enjoyed their day off/bubble bath with wine/manicure/well-deserved vacation/fancy dinner/trip to a movie, etc etc etc. And I got grouchy, because most of the posts were from people who go to work, come home and make dinner, and then have the potential for some free time in the evening. They have the ability to take a sick day or a day off, they own bathtubs (!), they get vacation time, they can afford a manicure, they have someone to go to dinner with and they usually have a job, which lets them pay the bills and every once in a while, buy a cute shirt. I was jealous of those people. I wanted to come home and make nice dinners with bottles of wine and take a day for myself to do nothing and go on a vacation weekend and take a bubble bath with a stiff drink and a bad book.

Become your dream, whoever you are.
I don’t know who Cassie is, but you can insert your name there. 

Medical students can’t usually do that. For one, I don’t have a bathtub in my current apartment. For two, I work really long hours. For three, when I come home, I have to study my little tooshie off because I have a major exam that I am taking as you are reading this and I’m terrified of failing it. (Any prayers greatly appreciated right now!)

And then I remember that I’m doing a lot better than most people. I’ve got a chance at a post-graduate education at an amazing medical school. I’ve got an awesome family and fantastic friends. I’m mostly healthy. I’ve never actually been homeless or starved or exhausted from chasing my child all day or had to deal with a drought or a civil war or an abusive boyfriend or wondered if I was going to be fired or had a substance abuse problem or fled from a corrupt government leader or had to make a mortgage payment.

I wouldn’t mind the bubble bath, though.

So, because bathtubs make me think of grapefruit scented candles, let’s talk about grapefruit confit. Confit is a method of preserving food without refrigeration or (generally) salt. Duck confit is well known – duck meat preserved in its own fat. Fruit confits are not as well known, but essentially are fruits or chunks of fruits candied in a thick sugar syrup until the entire fruit is crystallized.

Confit fruit and naked fruit
You start with a plain grapefruit, right, which will become a confittted grapefruit, left.
Grapfruit confit (1)
Your confitted grapefruit can yield whole candied fruit (back), candied slices (right), 
candied peel (center) or chopped whole fruit in a sauce (left.)
Anne-Sophie Pic's Grapefruit Confit
My favorites are always the candied slices and the candied peels. 

My thoughts: I’ve always loved candying fruits but I’ve never tried to candy an entire citrus before. I really liked the results. The grapefruit still has its classic, bitter edge to it, but it’s been tempered, of course, by the sugar that has seeped into every fiber of the fruit. You can chop up the whole fruit and use it as a chutney or sauce with a main dish or as a dainty toast pointe topper for cocktail parties. You can whisk just the pulp of the fruit into salads, sauces or baked goods for an added kick. The candied peels are always a popular nibble and liven up any cake or scone they grace.

Notes: The original recipe is written in French, which I don’t speak, but between my Spanish, google translate and a French speaking father and brother, I think I’ve managed to follow this recipe exactly as she laid out. It does take several days, but I wouldn’t change any of the steps as this is more of a technique than a recipe. Of course, feel free to try it with other fruits. The beauty of this is that you can chose to use the whole fruit, the confit pulp or the candied peel as you need. Original recipe hyperlinked (in French), recipe written here as I made it.

Pamplemousse (Grapefruit) Confit
Adapted from Anne-Sophie Pic
Used as garnish. Allow 40 minutes first day, 10 minutes for three days following. 

6 cups water
4 grapefruit
2 lbs sugar
6 cups water (2nd)

Day 1: Bring the first six cups of water to a gentle boil. Wash the grapefruit well, cut in half against the grain and allow to poach in the simmering water for 10 minutes.

While the grapefruit are poaching, mix 1 1/2 lbs of the sugar with the second six cups of water and bring to a boil to create a simple syrup. Stir carefully to ensure no sugar gets burned to the bottom of the pan.

When the grapefruit have finished their 10 minutes poach, remove them from the plain water and add them to the simmering simple syrup. Poach them for a further 30 minutes. Then, allow to cool and store in the fridge overnight in the syrup.

Day 2: Strain the syrup off the grapefruit and add the other 1/2 sugar to the syrup. Bring it back to a boil, then pour it over the grapefruit. Return to the fridge.

Days 3 and 4: Strain the syrup off the grapefruit and bring to a boil. If your syrup is diminishing in quantity due to the continuous boilings, add another half a cup of water at a time. Pour it over the grapefruit and return them to the fridge.

The grapefruit should now be fully candied and can be used as a garnish or in whatever recipe you desire.

This is a post in the 50 Women Game Changers of Food Series. Every Friday, a group of women writers is blogging their way through 50 Women Game-Changers of Food – find more information, as well as a complete listing of who has participated and links to every recipe we’ve made so far, here. This is who is  joining this week.

Mary of One Perfect Bite | 
Mary of One Perfect Bite | Joanne of Eats Well With Others | Val of More Than Burnt Toast | Susan of The Spice Garden | Heather of girlichef | Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney | Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living | Kathleen of Bakeaway with Me | Sue of The View from the Great Island | Linda of There and Back Again | Kathleen of Gonna Want Seconds | Barbara of Moveable Feasts  Linda of Ciao Chow Linda | Deborah of Taste and Tell | Nancy of My Picadillo | Mireya of My Healthing Eating Habits | Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen |  Annie of lovely things | Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook

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4 Responses to Stress Relief (Anne-Sophie Pic’s Grapefruit Confit)

  1. bellini says:

    You did an amazing job. This is something you could fit in between the studying, and all that is involved in your life. I work for doctors and I am here to tell you that if they want to they are able to have time off so long leisurely baths can be in your future if you want them.

  2. I've never tried anything like this, but I adore grapefruit, and your photos make it look so enticing. The color is gorgeous.

  3. I have had candied fruit peel and preserved ginger, which seems like it's the same process, but a citrus fruit slice sounds really neat! good job!I'd say get some sleep and take some time for yourself, but I know differently. I guess the better wish is that you do well on tests and 'get through it'! happy Christmas!

  4. Claudia says:

    This is beautiful! Stunning – I have tried to candy whole fruits before and was not successful. Hang in there med student – it's a tough road – but what an exciting life you will find on your journey.

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