Lemons can add magic to desserts. Lemon paste (pasta di limoni) is an intensely aromatic, thick, jam-like mixture used to flavor Italian desserts. You can use it to flavor cream fillings, cookies, pastries, breads, and cakes, etc. Think lemon cheesecake or just about any dessert you want to add lemon flavor to. There is an orange version as well. Lemon paste is great to have on hand, it is easy to make, and stores well in the freezer. It’s a must have ingredient for any serious home baker.
Lemon Paste Flavoring
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes: 1 ½ cups.
5 large lemons
1/2 cup lemon pulp
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup or honey
Wash the lemons. Using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, carefully remove the yellow peel from 4 lemons, cutting as little of the white pith as possible. Remove the peel from the remaining lemon and set aside. Reserve the inner lemons.
Coarsely chop the peels until you have 1/2 cup.
Using a sharp paring knife, remove the pith around each lemon, exposing the flesh. Carefully cut out the sections in between the membranes. Remove any membrane that is attached to each segment and discard the seeds.
Place the segments/pulp into a 1/2 cup measure.
Combine all the ingredients in a small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir a few minutes until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to low simmer and continue cooking without stirring for 25 to 30 minutes, or until mixture reaches 235 degrees F. Be careful not to let the mixture burn. Let cool completely.
Place mixture into a blender, add reserved lemon peel and process until smooth. There will be small pieces of the peel left. Place in a closed container and refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 4 months. Use to flavor desserts.