The combination of tart lemon and silky rich chocolate makes these a delicious treat to serve with coffee, or use to decorate cakes and tarts. Leave some pieces plain to make a lovely contrast.
3 large unblemished lemons, washed and dried
1½ cups caster sugar
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar
150 grams dark chocolate, chopped
Cut each lemon into eighths lengthwise then cut out the flesh from each wedge and discard. Use a small sharp knife to shave off any excess white pith, leaving just a thin layer on the skin. Cut into ½ cm wide strips.
Place the lemon strips in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and repeat this step twice for a total of three blanchings. Set the drained lemon pieces aside.
Place the sugar and water in the same saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon peel and reduce the heat to low. Simmer very gently for 50-60 minutes until the lemon looks translucent and is tender, stirring occasionally for even cooking.
Strain the lemon peel, then transfer to a rack set over a lipped baking tray, spreading the peel out in a single layer. Leave for 10 minutes to allow the excess syrup to drip off and for the peels to become slightly tacky.
To coat: Place the sugar in a shallow dish. Working with a few pieces at a time, roll the peel in the sugar, shaking off the excess. Return to the rack for 1 hour to dry.
Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, but ensure it is not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.
Dip each piece of peel about halfway into the chocolate, letting the excess drip back into the bowl.
Place on a sheet of baking paper to dry. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 month
Cook’s tips: It’s important to blanch the lemons three times to remove the bitterness from the skin.
You could also dust the chocolate-dipped ends in good quality cocoa, shaking off the excess before serving.