Candied angelica is used in small quantities as a garnish for desserts, because it has a strong flavour. It can also be coated in chocolate and eaten as a sweet on its own.
Candied angelica is increasingly hard to find, as demand for it has fallen off greatly.
A famous kind of candied angelica is “Angelique de Niort”; it has been made in the village of Niort, France (in the Poitou-Charentes region on the west coast) since the 1700s. The Niort area, and north of Clermont-Ferrand in the Limagne plain, are two of the few areas left in France where it is grown for candying.
The stalks of angelica that will be candied need to be tender. This necessitates harvesting young stalks, in April or May, before the flowers on the plants start to open.
Here is a simple method (a more involved method is recounted under Literature):
From the stalks, remove and discard both the leaves and the leaf ‘stems’. Cut the stalks into pieces about 10 cm (4 inches) long. Put them into a pan of water, bring to a boil, let boil for 3 minutes, then drain.
Scrape off any tough skin, put back in a pan of fresh water, and boil for about 5 minutes until tender — they will turn a bright green (some people cheat and add a pinch of baking soda to ensure a vivid green.) Drain and weigh them. Layer them in a bowl with white sugar between each layer, aiming to use as much weight of sugar as the drained stalks.
Let stand for 3 days, then put the contents of the bowl, sugar and all, with some water into a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until the Angelica stalks start to look clear. Then drain. ‡
Roll the drained Angelica on waxed paper sprinkled with sugar, then leave to dry on a wire rack for 4 days. Dry pack into a jar (to be clear, no syrup or other liquid), seal tightly, and store in refrigerator.
‡ If you wish, you can keep the syrup for other uses such as a topping for ice cream, or to add flavour to a fruit salad.
Marzipan, coloured green.
Store candied angelica in a covered container. It should keep in the refrigerator for up to a year.
Candying angelica has been done in southern France since the 1600s. The town of Niort, in the Poitu region of France, has specialized in candied angelica since the late 1700s. Their product is known as “Angélique de Niort.” The industry in Niort was started by nuns, who would carve the pieces of stalk into figures.
Literature & Lore
“Pick the stalks of the angelica plant in April or May when they are young, tender and bright in colour. Trim off the root ends and leaves and place the stalks in a bowl. Dissolve 7 g (¼ oz) salt in 2.25 litres (4 UK pints) water and pour this brine over the angelica to cover the stalks completely. Leave the angelica to soak for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse it under cold water. Bring a saucepan of fresh water to the boil, add the angelica and bring it to the boil. Cook the angelica for 5 – 7 minutes, until it is tender — the cooking time will depend on the age and tenderness of the plant. Drain the stalks and scrape them to remove the outer skin.
Dissolve 450 g (1 lb) sugar, or 225 g (8 oz) sugar and 225 g (8 oz) glucose or dextrose, in 600 ml (1 UK pint) water. Check the density of the syrup at 38 C (100 F) — it should record 45 degrees Balling or Brix. Add a little green food colouring and bring the syrup to the boil. Pour it over the angelica, place a plate or saucer on top to keep the angelica submerged, and leave it to stand for 24 hours.
Continue processing the angelica, following the directions and chart of preparing fresh fruit (see page 133 [Ed: in the book].) If you have a hydrometer, then check the sugar density which should be at the level shown on the following chart. It is recommended that glucose or dextrose is used in place of sugar on alternative days. At the end of processing the syrup should be the consistency of honey. At this stage the angelica can be stored in the syrup for up to 2 – 3 weeks.
Syrup Density for Processing Angelica
|Day||Degrees Beaumé||Degrees Balling or Brix||Soaking Time|
The readings should be taken at 38 C (100 F). When the angelica has been processed for the number of days given, and the density of the sugar checked each time, it should be dried on a wire rack and in a very cool oven as for candied fruit.” Jones, Bridget, Ed. Home Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables. London: AFRC Institute of Food Research. 1989. 14th edition, revised. Page 137.
Sometimes in North America candied angelica is called “French rhubarb.”
|↑1||Jones, Bridget, Ed. Home Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables. London: AFRC Institute of Food Research. 1989. 14th edition, revised. Page 137.|