Most citrus recipes, whether sweet or savory, call for citrus zest. You can try to accomplish this with a vegetable peeler, but oftentimes, peelers go too far down in the rind. If you peel off the white pith with the rind, the zest will be too bitter.
A microplane is made especially for zesting citrus. It shaves off the colorful rind, which is packed with flavor and essential oils, and it leaves behind the pith. You can also use a microplane to grate whole nutmeg, which is much more flavorful than the pre-ground stuff.
After zesting the fruit, you’ll surely want to take advantage of its beautiful juice. There are many secret cook tips for getting the most juice out of a lemon, orange or lime – some people microwave the fruit for 20 seconds. Others roll it on the counter.
My advice: make sure the fruit is at room temperature. Then, cut it in half and use a wooden reamer to press out all the juice.
But wait! There’s one more important step. You should juice your fruit over a strainer to catch all of the seeds. It’s so much easier than picking out the seeds one-by-one.
Some people like to just squeeze the juice into their hands to collect the seeds, but you can’t use a reamer, squeeze the fruit and catch the seeds unless you have a third hand to help. If you skip the reamer and just squeeze the fruit, you could be missing out on up to a tablespoon of juice.
When following these steps, each plump lemon should yield about 1 teaspoon of zest and 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup of lemon juice).
Now that you know the professional secrets, how about trying this lemony version of cinnamon rolls. There’s no need to make your own dough. Pre-made puff pastry sheets are an easy buttery, flaky alternative.
You just flatten them out, spread with lemon curd (homemade or store bought), roll, slice and bake. For an added citrus punch, drizzle with lemon glaze and your beautifully zested lemon rind. I like to add a few almonds for added crunch.
- 1 box Pepperidge Farms puff pastry, thawed
- 1 cup lemon curd*
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, chopped (optional)
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- pinch kosher salt
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Unwrap one puffed pastry sheet. Roll the sheet out on a lightly floured counter to smooth the seams together.
Spread 1/2 cup of lemon curd onto the pastry sheet.
Starting from one of the longer sides, roll the sheet into a tight log.
Use a serrated knife to slice the log into 12 one-inch thick rolls.
Place the slices onto a parchment- or silplat-lined baking sheet. Repeat above steps with the second sheet and remaining lemon curd. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Juice and zest the lemon. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle onto the hot rolls with a spoon.
Sprinkle each roll with lemon zest and almonds.
Juice and zest the lemon set aside.
With a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the sugar, lemon zest and butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon juice and salt.
Place in a saucepot over low heat. Cook, stirring often 10-15 minutes, until thickened.
Remove from heat. Use or chill for up to one week.
You can buy jarred lemon curd in the jelly aisle. Or you can make your own.