Let us hopscotch into the playground of our past. As homage to the sherbet dips of our childhoods here is my recipe for a sharp, lemon peel sherbet and my dark caramel, lemon lollipop. At a recent school reunion I was delighted to find that all my old playmates still have plasters on their glasses, teeth you could open a pop bottle with and rickets.
- For the sherbet:
- 1 lemon
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar
- 1 tsp powdered citric acid (from the chemist)
- For the lollies:
- A little vegetable oil
- 150g (5oz) granulated sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp liquid glucose
- You will also need 4 lolly sticks
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2. Use a vegetable peeler to pare the peel from the lemon, leaving as much white pith as possible on the fruit. Put the peelings on a baking sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes until dried out and golden.
Use a glass or jar to draw four 6–7cm (2- –3in) rounds on a piece of baking parchment . Turn the paper over and put on a heatproof board. Brush the inside of each round with oil.
Allow the peel to cool, then whizz in a mini blender, or use a knife, until finely chopped. Add the caster sugar and citric acid and whizz again briefly to combine.
Fill the sink with cold water. Just do it, ok?
Put the sugar, lemon juice, liquid glucose and 1 tablespoon of boiling water in a small heavy-bottomed pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Put a sugar thermometer into the pan and increase the heat until the syrup is simmering steadily. Watch the temperature carefully and cook until it reaches 150°C (300°F).
Quickly dip the base of the pan into the water in the sink to stop the caramel cooking any further then take a teaspoon and carefully spoon some of it into each round on the parchment. Push in the sticks and spoon some more syrup into each round – it may run outside the circles but the lollies will be all the more lovely for it. Allow the lollies to set then carefully release from the parchment and serve with the sherbet.
This recipe takes around 30 minutes to make, plus setting time.