I made panko-honey lemons for a citrus cook off we hosted this holiday and they were quite successful. It’s chunks of deep fried lemon. A coating of powdered sugar, honey water, and honeyed panko batter make for a thin, sweet shell of crispy donut-like goodness around the still sour lemon. A wide range of palates found the sourness to be inoffensive with all that sugar nearby. These are fairly painless to make, although cutting the lemons took a while and made me feel dumb.
- Powdered sugar
- Canola oil
- 1 cup water
- 6 Lemons
- 2 Eggs
- Prepare a cup of honey water (enough to put your chopped up lemons into). Microwave a cup of water for 30 seconds to warm it and dissolve a couple tablespoons of honey into it. Stop when it appears to be saturated with honey for that temperature. This should cool down fairly quickly given how much honey you’re adding to it, but make sure it’s cooled down to warm rather than scalding so you don’t cook your lemons in it. That’d be sad.
- Cut your lemons up into pieces of varying size, tossing them in the honey water as you do. I found the fastest was to cut the lemons into fairly wide circle slices (1/4” - 1/2”) before cutting out small triangular segments of 1-3 connected wedges, discarding the peel and picking out all seeds. A paring knife makes the tinier cuts and seed removal much easier. Varying size is fun for this so don’t sweat it too much. Aim for bite-sized and make sure they’ll hold together while frying.
- Prepare your panko breading assembly line! One plate will have half and half powdered sugar and flour on it. The second plate will have two eggs mixed with two tablespoons of honey mixed into it (don’t heat it. just stir a lot and believe in yourself). The third will just have panko on it. Put a fourth plate at the end to pile up the product pre-frying. Get a pan of oil heating at a notch under medium heat. Put a fifth plate near that pan of oil and put a folded paper towel on there to soak up the grease from your freshly fried lemons.
- Take your lemon chunks out of the honey water and toss them directly into the powdered sugar/flour mix, a few at a time. Don’t dry them off. The honey water and powdered sugar is going to make this thing taste like a donut. Roll them around to be sure they’re covered-ish.
- Move those lemon chunks into the egg, rolling them around to be sure all surfaces are covered. Be quick so you don’t wash off more of the flour than necessary, and toss them into the panko.
- Roll them around in the panko, drop more on top of it, etc. to make sure it’s covered. Once your oil’s heated up (test with a blob of panko if you must), toss the lemon chunks in there. It may take 30 seconds to a minute, rolling them around to brown all sides, to fry. If you take longer, they may fall apart before frying solid and you’ll get some loud pops as the lemon juice hits the oil, but it didn’t cause too much commotion at the recommended heat level and they still taste fine (see safety note).
- Repeat steps 4-6 until you’re done or bored. Be sure to eat while you cook. Allow a minute to cool, minimum. Toss fried lemon chunks into a bowl and replace paper towels as necessary. These stay tasty for a good hour after cooking. I haven’t tested longer times.
While raising the heat would make this fry faster, it’d also make any water/juice hitting the oil react more violently. I recommend against that. Every stove’s different, so you can’t take my temperature recommendations as gospel. Turn the heat down if you notice oil exiting the pan at a rate more vigorous than the average slice of bacon’s ejections. Don’t burn your house down or fry yourself.