Friday, April 6, 2012

Candied Lemons

Sometime ago, I don't remember when, we went to Olive Garden to celebrate something, I don't remember what (I'm tired, it's early, I'm old, give me a break!), and I got a Limoncello Mousse Dolcini for dessert. The mousse was alright nothing really to brag home about but the candied lemon garnish on the top of it was AWESOME. So awesome I had to circle it like a lioness guarding her kill from a pack of hyenas (it was all very Lion King, I swear and yes I'm likening my family to hyenas -- if you knew them, you'd agree).

Fast forward to earlier this week (probably Tuesday but I could be lying and really the day of the week doesn't have anything to do with the story so it doesn't really matter), I was trying to figure out what dessert I was going to take to the 'rents (*snicker* 'rents -- I'm so street) for Easter. My husband's favorite dessert is anything with lemon in it so I thought I'd make Lemon Meringue Cupcakes for him (nevermind the whole family likes desserts with lemon -- remember the hyena comment from earlier-- I swear I'm making them for him and I'm sticking to that story).

Then I thought how cute and awesome would it be if I could figure out how to make the candied lemon garnish to put on top of the Meringue Buttercream Frosting. So... I did. They're in whole slices now but I'm going to cut them up and do some cute design with them, maybe flowers or something.

That is if I can keep the vulture (my husband) -- he's already circling -- from descending upon them.

The recipe is insanely easy:

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
3 lemons, sliced thin
(the 1, 2, 3 of the the ingredients wasn't intentional but I'm totally geeking out on how cool it is)

1.) Clean the lemons -- scrub the skins really well (you're going to eat them) -- and then slice thinly. I used my nifty mandolin. If you don't have one try to make them as uniform as possible and no more than 1/4" thick.
2.) Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil and prepare an ice bath for blanching the lemon slices. Boil them for 1-2 minutes and then submerge them immediately in the ice bath.
3.) Combine 1 cup water and 2 cups sugar in a wide skillet or saucepan on medium heat. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture looks clear.
4.) Bring the sugar mixture up to a rapid simmer and then add the lemon slices in a single layer. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for an hour.
5.) Spray a wire rack with nonstick spray and gently remove lemon slices from the syrup and place on the rack. Leave them on the counter to drain and dry for at least 12 hours
6.) Roll the rind in sugar (I used yellow) and let set another 12 hours to be completely set.
I love how they look. Like little stained glass fruit. You can do this with any citrus fruit. I think next time I'll do lime slices. My husband says that he's glad the recipe is easy because I can expect to be making these a lot for him to just eat because garnishes are girly.

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