Hey everybody! I know it has been really really quite here, but don't let that fool you. The grannies have been meeting every month since the last blog post, I've just been too lazy to do the write-ups. This shall all change here, though.
Last month we got together with POUNDS of lemons and did all sorts of yummy things with them. In a span of 4 hours, the 5 of us, along with Denise's mom, made macaroons, preserved lemons, lemon curd, candied lemon peel, lemon simple syrup and lemoncello. You read that right.
This post will have SIX recipes, in this order, so just scroll down to what you want:
Lemoncello (Used naked lemons to make lemonade)
Macaroons (Used yolks to make curd)
Lemon Curd (Used curd as Macaroon filling)
Candied Lemon Peel (Reserved sugar water to use as syrup)
Lemon Simple Syrup (Used in cocktails, always needed at GC)
Preserved Lemons (Easiest of the bunch)
The reason we made so many things is because we were trying to use all of the parts of the lemon and the eggs. I'll outline what to reserve in each recipe. If you plan to make the lemon curd and or the preserved lemons, the very first step you must do is to sterilize all your jars. We used regular canning mason jars and used the water bath method to sterilize them. (Bring large pot to a boil, immerse jars and lids into pot and boil for 10 minutes. Place jars on clean towel until ready to fill.)
This is old hat and GC; you can find the recipe here. We made this again because we had SO MANY lemons left over. We reserved the nakkid lemons to make lemonade, or you can use the lemon juice for preserved lemons. It just depends what recipe you use, which I will go into detail for that recipe below.
There is a lot of waiting involved with this recipe, so Noel and Carol (Denise's mom) started the process from the get go and pretty much did nothing but the macaroons for the entire meet. They used this recipe from Little White Kitchen and they turned out great. We actually did two batches; one of lemon flavor with yellow dye and the other with no flavoring and purple dye (we actually did a mix of purple and blue to get more of a lavender color). Reserve the yolks for lemon curd (recipe below), which you can use as macaroon filling.
Since you have egg yolks left over when you make macaroons, we made lemon curd. You will need a double boiler, which can just be a metal bowl over a pot of water.
1 cup sugar
2tbs lemon zest
1/3rd cup lemon juice
1 cup butter cut into 1/8th inch pieces.
Whisk egg yolks and sugar for 2 minutes. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and add to double boiler and cook until thickened, like pudding. Remove from heat and slowly add cut-up butter. Store in sterile jars in fridge, or use immediately a macaroon filling.
Candied Lemon Peel
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
Superfine sugar for finishing
Use a zester to make even strips of peel, then cut down to 2 inch pieces for candying. Bring lemon strips to a boil in a pot of water (not part of the 4 cups listed above). When boiling, drain and refill pot with water. Repeat boiling process to remove bitterness from skins. While waiting for second boiling mix 4 cups water and 3 cups sugar. Dump second batch of boiling water and add peels back to pot with sugar water mix. Bring to a boil, then simmer 60-90 minutes. After simmering, strain and reserve liquid for Lemon Simple Syrup. Let peels dry on parchment lined cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Then roll in superfine sugar.
Lemon Simple Syrup
Bottle reserved liquid from candied lemon peels. That is the syrup, with no extra work. For real, high five. Now mix a drink.
There are multiple ways you can do this. I went into the meet with this recipe and this one, but opted to do a recipe Cinnamon had done before, which was way easier, but doesn't exactly have measurements.
Sterilized Mason Jars, Quart size with wide mouth
Box of Kosher Sea Salt*
About 6 lemons per mason jar, cut into quarters
Put a layer of salt on bottom of mason jar, enough to cover bottom. Arrange lemon quarters in a single layer, push down quarters gently to release some juice. Layer salt over lemon quarters, enough to fully cover. Repeat lemon layer and salt layer, gently pushing on lemons, until you reach the top of the jar.
Let jar rest in a cool dark place for 3 days, shake contents around so that juice, salt and lemons mix. Let rest for three weeks, mix. Lemons will be ready to use after 3 more weeks of resting and will keep indefinitely. (Total of 6 weeks of rest.) Best use of preserved lemons is to slice the peels and add in recipes where you would normally use lemon. Keep in mind that the lemons are salty, so they may not work in sweets, unless you omit the salt from the recipe.
*For 7 jars, we went through about 1.5 boxes of salt, so it may be good to grab 2 boxes just in case. Not like salt ever goes bad!
I'm honestly a bit shocked that we did all those things, those tasty tasty things, in 4 hours. I guess that is what happens when you have 6 pairs of hands in the kitchen! It is something that I'm always reminded of when we have Grandma Club: mediocre kitchen work is tons of fun when you are with friends.
More grannies in the kitchen soon!