Ask Peter: Zesty ideas for lemons
I have been making my own lemon syrup using the old gran/great-gran recipe with great success. I have all this yummy sugared lemon pulp and puree left over which I have used in a banana cake recipe. This works okay but there must be other things I can use it for. What suggestions do you have?
I have to say, New Zealand lemons are one of the ingredients that I really do miss in London. Over here the majority have a lovely sharpness, but very little flavour. Un-waxed Sicilian lemons are the exception. I miss our lovely aromatic, sweet, tangy lemons.
I'm assuming the pulp you refer to comes from the rinds and skin of the lemons once you've juiced them. If that's the case, then one thing you could make is marmalade, but if it's a puree you have, rather than just skins, this would be less successful and would end up becoming more of a jam than a marmalade.
- Slice the fruit thinly after removing seeds (and wiping any wax from the skins if you've bought them). For every coffee mug of pulp add another mug of fresh lemon juice (because you'll have removed the juice for your syrup) and a mug of water.
- Bring to the boil and cook over a rapid simmer for 40 minutes, stirring often, then cover and leave to sit overnight.
- Next day measure the fruit and juices again. The rule of thumb when making lemon marmalade is to have a ratio of two parts lemon pulp and juice to one part sugar.
- Bring to the boil, slowly at first, and then cook over a gentle boil, stirring frequently, until it reaches 104C. This is the temperature at which it will gel. If you don't have a sugar thermometer, then drizzle some on a cold saucer (place in the fridge for 10 minutes) and it should firm up after a minute.
- Ladle into sterilised jars and seal while hot, then once cool leave for at least a week before using. Adding chopped fresh ginger, lime leaves and even chillies also adds a delicious taste to the jam.
If you think this all seems too much of an effort, and your pureed pulp is lovely and sweet (and not bitter) then you could make a swirly frozen parfait, based on the berry parfait in my book Everyday.
- Boil 1 cup caster sugar, cup honey and cup water and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Mix with 3 cups of the lemon pulp and place in the fridge to cool down.
- Either churn in an ice cream machine or place in a shallow tray in the freezer and chill until frozen, breaking it up every 30 minutes to prevent ice crystals forming.
- Whip 200ml cream with 100ml Greek yoghurt and cup runny honey until soft peaks form and then gently ripple the two together.
- Pour into a container, or a terrine tin lined with non-stick baking parchment (or a triple layer of clingfilm) and freeze for at least 8 hours. You can then either scoop it out or cut into slices.
The pulp, so long as it isn't too bitter, could also be used successfully in savoury dishes such as a chicken or pork stew (add a few tablespoons towards the end of the cooking) or steamed mussels or clams (add to taste). Rub it over a butterflied leg of lamb or pork shoulder, leave to marinate in the fridge overnight, then slowly cook the following day.
It might also work well in salad dressing, shaken in a jam jar with fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar, olive oil and freshly picked thyme leaves or shredded basil.
Cook chickpeas or puy lentils and mix some paste along with diced tomatoes and cucumber, picked flat parsley and chopped toasted walnuts or hazelnuts.
Toss some cauliflower florets with olive oil and lemon paste and roast at a high temperature until golden, tossing occasionally and serve with grilled salmon.
In our Ask Peter series, executive chef Peter Gordon answers your curly culinary questions. If you’re stumped over something food-related, send your question to [email protected] and keep checking in for answers. You can read more on Peter on his website, have a read of his Ask Peter articles or check out his recipes on our site.