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Lemon Zing

There’s nothing quite like the versatile zingy lemon. They’re tart, fragrant, and fantastic in so many desserts as well as baking. Try lemons in everything from lemon posset to lemon ricotta muffins. Credit: Lines + Angles/The Food Union

Lemon Posset

Serves 6–8 depending on glass size

  • 600 ml double cream
  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • finely grated rind and juiceof 3 lemons
  • fresh berries and mint leaves to serve

Heat the cream, sugar and lemon rind in a saucepan over a low heat until the mixture starts to simmer. Stir continuously for around 3 – 4 minutes, then remove from the heat. Cool until the mixture is lukewarm and pour into small serving glasses. Cover the surface with cling wrap and allow to set in the refrigerator for 2+ hours. Garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves, and serve with Citrus Shortbread.

Citrus Shortbread

  • 330 gm plain flour
  • 120 gm caster sugar
  • finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 200 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 180 C. Add the flour, sugar, lemon rind and sea salt to a food processor and process to combine. Add the butter and process until fine crumbs form (a couple of minutes). Then add the egg yolks and lemon juice, processing to combine. Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll the mixture out on a lightly floured sheet of baking paper till 6mm thick, refrigerate to rest for 30 minutes.

Using a cookie cutter cut out rounds, re-rolling the scraps till the dough is used up. Place the cookies on an oven tray lined with baking paper, and bake for 15 – 20 mins until the edges are golden. Remove from oven and cool the cookies on a rack.

Lemon & Ricotta Muffins

Makes 12

  • 375 gm self-raising flour
  • 220 gm caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 70 gm seed mix (chia, sesame, linseed) plus extra for sprinkling
  • 200 gm fresh ricotta
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 280 gm plain greek-style (thick) yoghurt
  • 125ml vegetable oil

Lemon Icing

  • 160g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the flour, sugar, lemon rind and seed mix in a large bowl and mix to combine. Then add the ricotta, egg, vanilla, yoghurt and oil, using a butter knife mix again until just combined. Spoon mixture into 12 x 1/2-cup-capacity (125ml) greased muffin tins.

Cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool for 2 minutes in the muffin tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice for the Lemon Icing. Drizzle over the muffins with a small spoon, then sprinkle with the extra seed mix.

Lemon Fritters

Makes 12–16 fritters depending on size

  • 250 gm firm ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • finely grated zest 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • vegetable oil for cooking
  • 1 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Citrus Honey Syrup
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • juice 1 large orange and 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Mix the ricotta and eggs together in a large bowl, leaving some texture in the ricotta. Add the caster sugar and lemon zest, then gently stir in the combined flour, baking powder and salt. Heat 1 cm of oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil and cook for 1 minute on each side or until golden and puffed. Drain on kitchen towels, then toss in the Cinnamon Sugar. Transfer to a serving plate and serve warm drizzled with the Citrus Honey Syrup. Serve extra syrup separately.

Citrus Honey Syrup

Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook at a fast simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until reduced and syrupy. Cool then chill till ready to use.

Lemon Curd

  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 275 ml cold water
  • 3 lemons, zested & juiced
  • 50 gm butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100 gm crème fraiche

In a bowl mix the cornflour and sugar, then gradually whisk in enough cold water to just make a paste. Zest the lemon rind into a saucepan and add the rest of the cold water. Gently warm the mixture over a low heat. Mix the lemon juice into the cornflour paste, then pour into the saucepan and whisk together. Cook the mixture until thickened, whisking all the time. Add the butter, stirring continuously, then add the egg yolks one at a time. Continue cooking gently until the mixture thickly coats the back of the spoon (2 – 3 minutes), then remove from the heat to cool. Once at room temperature whisk in the crème fraîche and transfer to a container. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.

Lemon Curd Sponge Cake

Serves 6–8

  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 50 gm cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 40 gm melted butter
  • 250 gm crème fraiche
  • 150 ml pouring cream
  • 30 gm icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 11/2 cups lemon curd – mix with a little hot water if curd too thick to drizzle
  • edible flowers to decorate – violet, pansy, borage

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter three 18 cm diameter cake tins, line bases with baking paper and dust with flour. Whisk the caster sugar, eggs, lemon rind and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until pale and tripled in volume (5 – 6 minutes). Sieve in the flour, cornflour and baking powder in 2 batches, fold to combine, then fold in the melted butter. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins and the smooth tops. Bake the cakes until golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly pressed (8 – 10 minutes). Cool in the cake tins for 10 minutes, then remove from tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

Whisk the crème fraiche, cream, icing sugar and vanilla paste in a bowl until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until required.

Place the first cake on a serving plate and spread one third of the crème fraiche mixture over the cake, followed by a generous drizzle of lemon curd. Place the second cake gently on top of the first and repeat the process. Place the remaining cake gently on top and repeat the process again. Decorate with edible flowers and serve with extra lemon curd.

Limoncello

  • 21/2 cups vodka
  • peel of 8 ripe unblemished lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 lemons, juiced and strained
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup water

Combine the vodka and lemon peel in a non metal container, and cover and steep 48 hours in a cool, dark place.

Boil the sugar, lemon juice and cloves with the water until syrupy. Cool the syrup. Strain the peel from the vodka, and remove the cloves from the syrup. Mix the syrup and lemon vodka together and store in a sterilized bottle. Serve the limoncello chilled in glasses straight or with ice and soda. 

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