Candied Grapefruit {Dulce de Toronja}

Candied Grapefruit

I’ve been blogging on my fashion blog, B So Chic! for the past week or so documenting the uber fancy that comes with doing live TV segments. Like arm candy…. and shoes… and pretty makeup. I can’t wait to share the food element, which is why I’m even doing this particular series of appearances, but so much more goes into chit chatting about cooking and showing a huge audience how to prepare something. So yeah, I’ll get to those segments and the few coming up later in the fall. For now, you can see how the first one went in this post. Fashion and travel apart (you know, my heavy travel season has started to pickup and the peaks and valleys of intense cooking are here, bright and in my face), food is always on my mind. Developing and cooking. And so, with all the out-of-kithchen work and experiences, being back in front of my stove makes me one happy, happy girl.

And so I eat first when I’m home. More like grubbing. That fuels my creativity and reignites my passion for cooking it up.

Sometimes it’s over the top, fusion-y , beautiful dishes; other times, I love going back to basics, classic stuff I know. Such was the case a few days ago when I was enjoying fresh grapefruit for breakfast. Growing up, Papi and I used to share one large one and eat it with a spoon. The best part was the brutal amount of sugar he’d pour on each just to cut the bitterness. I loved it. It was awesome. But  as I got older, I learned to appreciate it even more, only without the sugar. It’s one of my favorite fruits.

Relishing in my childhood breakfasts triggered the most unsuspecting uses with grapefruit skin… a dessert in pure and sweet glory. One of the many wonders my mother taught me was this most insanely beautiful and ultra rich, yet silky candied grapefruit. I’d see her carefully carve out the meat of the fruit and perfectly stack each shell Papi and I’d enjoy.

After letting the shells sit in water for a bit, to cut the bitterness, she’d boil it in sweetened water. What she plated for me is one of the best desserts, ever. Nothing fancy, nothing sophisticated. Nothing gourmet. Just plain amazing. Not to mention a genius way of using every bit of your food… and you know how much I hate wasting food.


I saw a huge Costco bag of grapefruit and intentionally dug in just to make this treat….which I just learned my late grandfather’s favorite. Truthfully, Mami and I made it together. And that just made it more entertaining. She peels a certain way. I  soak a different way. Ultimately, there are many roads to a plate of candied grapefruit with the perfect aromatic syrup.

But only Mami’s matters to me. It’s what continues to make me happy kid at heart.

And that’s the sole purpose of some food.

Happy summer! And even happier eating!

If you’re interested in trying it, email me (bren {at} flanboyanteats {dot} com) and I’ll be glad to send you the recipe! You’ll love it! Especially if you’re a fan of the tart fruit.

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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  • Skin of 4 large grapefruits, cut in half and cleanly peeled
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbps. anise seeds
  • 3 whole star anise


In large pot, bring grapefruit skins to boil in six cups water. Dump water, add another 6 cups and boil again until grapefruit begins to soften and lose yellow color.  Repeat, only adding 5 cups water this time. Pinch grapefruit for doneness. It should be firm, but not tough. Some pieces may have split a bit. That’s okay. Add 3 cups of sugar and anise seeds. Stir well. Turn heat to high and cook for 30-40 minutes until liquid has thickened into a agave like syrup. Remove from heat. Transfer to large serving bowl. Add whole anise. Chill for 3 hours.

*Chef’s notes: you may soak skin in water for a day in advance to start reducing tartness. For more tartness, boil each round for less time, approximately 2 minutes. 

5 thoughts on “Candied Grapefruit {Dulce de Toronja}

  1. I would have never even thought of this. I think I like it enough to try. Great pictures too.

  2. Candied orange peels work fantastically, too. Crazy seeing them sell for large amounts of money when they’re soooo easy.

  3. Looks and sounds delicious and very original. Glad to see that you’re still doing it right. That’s awesome!

    Eric – long ago from the PF Chang’s bar :-)

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