This week on Toast, its all about one of my favorite summer flavor combos… lemon & basil. Typically, basil is used as an herb in savory dishes (like my Lemon Basil Pasta) – but I’m here to testify that it is just as good (if not better!) when sweetened up (Basil Lemonade is one of my summer FAVES)! I’m so excited to share a couple of my favorite lemon & basil desserts with you this week!
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. We need to talk garnish first.
When I made my lemon-basil panna cotta last week I knew I needed some cute little candied lemon curls to seal the deal. I searched for tutorials on how to make them, and while there are plenty on how to candy the actual lemon peels, I couldn’t find any on how to make these perfect little curls! So, internet, Homemade Toast is here to make up for your lack of lemon curl tutorials. You’re welcome, internet.
Candied Lemon Curls
For about 10 of these cute little curls, you’ll need:
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3-4 plastic drinking straws, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
First, cut the ends off of your lemon.
Then, carefully cut down ONE side of the lemon. Use a fillet knife, if you have one.
Continue the same cut through the FRUIT of the lemon, stopping at the peel. Do NOT cut through the peel.
Carefully open up your lemon, and make more cuts through the fruit so that it will lay flat(ish).
Use your fillet knife to carefully remove the fruit from the peel.
Now, turn the peel over and carefully trim the edges.
Your peel should lay pretty flat now. Use your fillet knife to carefully remove all of the white membrane from the inside of the peel.
Now, cut the peel into strips about 1/8″ wide. I’m a little OCD and used my straight-edge and pizza cutter, but you could just eyeball it, too.
Now, make your simple syrup by bringing 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a simmer in a small sauce pan, over medium heat. Add in your peels, and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, carefully lay out your peels on a cooling rack. (Save your simple syrup in the fridge – you’ll need it for your candied basil leaves! Recipe coming later this week!)
Let them cool slightly, then gently wrap each peel around a 2-3 inch piece of a plastic straw. Make sure that each curl is separated slightly, so that it does not stick to itself. Let your curls dry 8-12 hours, or overnight.
When the curls have mostly dried, slide them off of the straw and onto some parchment paper. If the curls are still wet or sticky, gently shape them correctly on the parchment and dry them out in a 200-degree oven, checking them every 15-minutes or so until they are completely dry.
That’s it! Use right away as a garnish, or store in a baggie with a little bit of sugar for up to a week!