My lemon cheesecake adventure continues. What’s a dessert without decoration?
To finish, the lemon cheesecake is topped with candied lemons. Once lemons are cooked — especially when doused in syrup — they are completely edible, rind and all. You just slice lemons thinly, cook them in a sugar syrup mixture and leave them to cool. The work is not hard but the results are pretty impressive. You can mound the lemons artfully in the center of the cheesecake, or you could lay them flat in a pattern on top, like a pretty food doily.
I’m not really a garnish kind of girl, usually. I don’t have the patience to make my food look Martha Stewart-perfect. I want it to look presentable, but I care more that it tastes incredible. In this case, though, I was following along, with Southern Living as my guide. I thought, heck, why not?
Let’s make candied lemons.
- 2 small lemons (unwaxed if you can)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup water
Line one or two baking sheets with wax paper. Set aside.
Slice the lemons as thinly as possible, about 1/8 inch thick. Discard any seeds.
In a large skillet, stir together the sugar, lemon juice and water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon slices in one layer. Continue cooking over medium heat at a gentle simmer, turning the slices every so often. Cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until the lemons are translucent and the rind has softened.
Remove the pan from the heat and, using tongs or a fork, place the lemon slices on the baking sheets in one layer. Cool them completely on the counter for about an hour. Then cover the lemon slices with plastic wrap and chill them another 2 hours to 2 days in the refrigerator.
You can even save the lemon syrup for another use. It’s delicious.
Next up, we make cheesecake!
Really, I promise.