I know this is a “baking” blog, but sometimes, we have to “no bake” to get a great result ;) I came across a lemon pound cake recipe and wanted to work on the garnish a bit. I stumbled across something that I’ve never seen in stores in the Midwest, BUT there are in “citrus” areas. So, with a little research, I was able to figure out how to “candy” some lemons! It’s not super hard, but it does take a little time. . . Here’s How:
3 C water
1 C Ice
1 C of water
2 C Sugar
2 C Water
2 Lemons (I used smaller ones and that seemed to help with “breaking” the pulp)
¼ C Granulated sugar
Medium sized Heavy-bottomed pot
Vegetable mandolin set to the thinnest setting
Bowl for ice water
Large high sided skillet
Start 3 Cups of water to boil. Cut the ends off of lemons to obtain a flat surface and run each lemon across mandolin set on the thinnest setting (1/8 inch). There will be seeds that make it through. I use a paring knife to make sure that my lemon slices are as free of seeds as possible. Set up the ice water as soon as the water in the pot comes to a boil.
Blanch the slices by placing them in the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Once water achieves a boil once again, let them boil for about 30 seconds and immediately remove and put them in the ice water. Repeat this process 2 more times. Why? Well, once you candy the lemons, the pith is trapped in the sugar syrup, but the blanching will take a bit of the bitterness away from the pith.
After the last blanch icing, start to prepare the simple syrup by placing the sugar and water in the large pan over medium heat stirring just until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat to just a simmer (Low-Medium Low). My tell was if there was steam and “tiny bubbles” (reminds me of a song ;)) In one layer, place your lemon slices in the sugar syrup as much in a single layer as possible (some will slide on top of others, it’s okay). These will need to simmer for about 75-90 minutes until they are “transparent” in color: the pith will be not quite but almost see-through instead of opaque. I set my timer and turn each slice over every 15 minutes during this time with tongs. Be very careful to keep an eye on the sugar syrup, if it starts to boil, it will caramelize and that turns bitter REALLY fast.
Meanwhile, set up a piece of parchment paper on a cooling rack. Once your slices are complete, remove from syrup and place in one layer on the parchment paper. Let them cool for about 30 minutes, and then sprinkle with half of the granulated sugar, and then flip and use the other half on the other side. Save your simple syrup into a jar to let cool and then refrigerate up to 2 weeks. It’s Really GREAT in tea!
Let these sit out overnight to absorb the granulated sugar and then you they should be “dry” enough to put in a container to store. They will remain pliable, and they are DELICIOUS!