Blew me off when I heard about them first, just the idea of using these tart sugary chips for decorating my desserts , cakes or to adorn a simple mocktail was exciting. I saw them from a distance in one of the bakeries. I thought it was some kind of sugar sweet crafted beautifully to resemble a lemon slice. A closer look and I knew what it was. I searched for many recipes on the internet but was not convinced about getting it right. One main reason for thinking this is the fact that the variety of lemon we get in India is very tart. There was no way to figure out how to make them taste sweet.
I sampled the recipe with few lemons straight out of the refrigerator. After hours of investment when I made the chip, I immediately spit it out of the mouth. It tasted horrible. I gave up the idea. Then when granny (inlaw) was making nimbu ka achaar (lemon pickle) I asked how does she ensure that the skin does not make her pickle bitter.
She said, she stocks up the lemon as and when she comes across lemons that have very less pith on their skin. The moment she comes across such variety, she simply chops them and add it to her jar that contains lemon juice. The lemons sit in their own juice for quiet some time even months. When she collects good amount of them she decides to season and temper it. The achaar recipe will follow some day but coming back to the chips I realized the effort required. So when I came across a lemon slightly green, more fleshy, with small seeds in it I decided to make chips again. The other test is you can try zesting the lemon, if it is difficult then you have found your catch. As the lemons with lesser pith cannot be zested easily.
1 tspn corn flour
6 tbsp sugar
3 cups water
1) Make thin slices of the lemon
2) In a large pan, add the water, sugar and corn flour and mix it well.
3) Let this sugar mixture boil on medium heat.
4) When the sugar is melted, throw in the lemon slices in it for poaching
5) Poach them until they are translucent or softened ~ 25-30 min
6) Drain these on a wire rack.
7) Preheat the oven at lowest temperature – 150c for 5 min
8) Place the chips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not overlap them
9) Bake them till they are slightly brown, you have to toss after 20 min or so. It may take
around 45-60 min at this temperature.
10) Let them stay in the oven for several hours to retain shape and crunch.
Use it to decorate your dessert, cake, cup cake or beverage.
You can also sprinkle it with cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cilantro and eat on its own if you have taste for sweet and sour items. They taste like candied peels but are slightly tangier naturally