Some might be wondering what on earth I've found this time...
and others will know exactly what this is - it has various names - Fingered Citron, Gobin Fingers, Buddha's hand and Buddha's Fingers...
This is a citrus fruit that originates from north-eastern India - it's exceptionally fragrant and can be used much like potpourri to perfume rooms. The aroma is a bit like a lemon though not quite as sharp and I must admit it's extremely pleasant and does a great job in scenting the air.
Unlike other citrus, the pith is not bitter and it's most popular culinary use is to be candied, which is exactly what I'll be doing.
Candied Buddha's Fingers
1 Buddha's Hand
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
When selecting a Buddha's Hand avoid those that have limp fingers or feel soft - some hands will be open, others will be closed, that doesn't effect the product. Be sure to smell them, they should be intensely fragrant. The rind should also be a vibrant yellow.
This one had a lot of fingers - so I first removed the internal ones. I then cut the end off where it would attach to the tree and just followed the lines of the external fingers to remove them, to give me nice long segments. Remember that the pith is not bitter so don't cut that away.
This photo shows you the inside of one of the fingers - as you can see, there's no flesh it's just pith.
Once all the fingers are prepared - boil them in plain water for a few minutes to start the softening process and remove impurities from the surface.
In a heavy based saucepan, place the water and sugar over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the drained Buddha's fingers and let them simmer for a couple of hours until they are translucent - stirring occasionally.
You can then remove the fingers from the syrup and allow them to dry on a wire rack. I've decided to keep both the syrup and fingers and store them in a preserving jar.
Once you've made your candied fingers what can you do with them? Use them in place of lemon rind - chopped finely add them to cakes and cookies, sweet breads, ice-cream, mousse, cream fillings just for starters. The syrup when heated can also be used as a glaze on tarts.