Glyko Portokalaki: Orange Peel Spoon Sweet

Mandarin oragnes
Vladimir Dostalek/Getty Images
  • 101 mins
  • Prep: 90 mins,
  • Cook: 11 mins
  • Yield: 25 three piece servings


In Greece, you might make this differently — using long pieces of orange peel, coiling them and securing with thread — but this simplified version of Glyko Portokalaki (in Greek: γλυκό πορτοκαλάκι, pronounced: ghlee-KOH por-toh-kah-LAH-kee) is equally delicious, and there's no sewing involved. Believe it or not, spoon sweets are very popular in Greece! Enjoy this by the spoonful as a snack, dessert, or dessert topping.

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound of oranges
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Ingredients Using 3 Navel Oranges:
  • 3 navel oranges (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups of water

How to Make It

Prepare Orange Peel

  1. Remove all the dark orange external layer of peel using a fine vegetable grater.
  2. Trim off the ends of the orange (removing enough to expose the orange pulp) and discard.
  3. Slice the orange in half, then quarters, then eighths - top to bottom. Remove peel in strips.
  4. Cut strips in half, across the width. I like to make a bias cut (on a slant) but a straight cut works just as well.

Remove Bitterness

Orange peel, with or without the external part, is bitter.

This process removes most of that bitterness without bleaching out the flavor and softens the peel.

  1. Place peel in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, timing from when it starts to bubble.
  2. Drain in a strainer or colander and rinse under running cold water.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, boiling for 3 minutes.
  4. Repeat step 3. Total boiling time: 11 minutes.
  5. Lay pieces of peel on a kitchen towel and allow to dry for several minutes to several hours.

If you need to take a break, this is the place to do it. The peel won't dry completely. This is just to remove the excess moisture.

Prepare the Sweet

  1. Place sugar and water in a saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add orange peel, return to a boil, and cook for 5-7 minutes just until the syrup begins to thicken slightly (it should be quite syrupy - but thick enough to coat a metal spoon).
  3. Stir in lemon juice and remove the pan from heat.
  4. Allow to cool completely before storing in sterilized jars.

Serving Suggestions

  • In Greece, spoon sweets are served as shown in the photo - a spoonful on a small plate, usually accompanied by a glass of cold water. They're not served as desserts, but rather as a sweet snack. In your home, spoon sweets might find a place as a dessert, snack, or a dessert sauce with ice cream, yogurt, cake, and even pastries.

What's Left Over?

  • The grated orange peel from three navel oranges comes to about 1/2 cup, and there are, of course, three delicious oranges! The fabulous Orange Yogurt Phyllo Pastry calls for orange juice and 1/2 cup of grated orange peel.