Nicola Galloway: Whole-Egg Lemon Honey
Our resident food blogger Nicola Galloway has penned a lemon honey recipe that bucks tradition — using whole eggs, and actual honey as sweetener.
Words and Images: Nicola Galloway
My Nana used to make the most wonderful toast topping called lemon honey. If it was on the breakfast table it would be my favourite for its sweet and tart taste.
Many years later when I asked Nana how to make lemon honey, I was quite surprised to learn it didn’t contain any actual honey. Naturally, when I first made it myself I couldn’t help adding some honey, and now often make it using solely honey as the sweetener (see recipe below). We are lucky to have a neighbour keep beehives in our backyard in exchange for honey so we always have plenty.
Another change I made to Nana’s original lemon honey is to use whole eggs rather than a combo of whole eggs and yolks. This way I avoid that conundrum of what to do with the spare egg whites. Of course, they could be frozen for a Christmas pavlova – label and date and they work just as well as fresh eggs. But to avoid the freezer buildup I find using whole eggs works just as well for a smooth sauce.
Before I get to the recipe, first a quick discussion on lemon varieties. The ubiquitous meyer lemon that is found in many backyards north of Otago, is a fair choice. The juice is on the sweet side, being a hybrid of sweeter citrus fruits so you may need to adjust the honey (or sugar) quantity. However, if I have the option I lean towards a tarter lemon to get that real lemon taste such as lisbon or yen ben.
We have an old gnarly lisbon lemon tree in the backyard. Although it is on a permanent lean and propped up by a sleeper, it continues to fruit consistently from early spring into summer. Some years the branches become so weighted with fruit they bend precariously to the ground. I can almost hear a sigh of relief each time I harvest the heavy fruit. I pick them as needed to use in the kitchen. Here is how I whip up a jar of lemon honey.
WHOLE-EGG LEMON HONEY
As explained, this recipe is quite different from my Nana’s original. She also added a little cornflour to prevent the egg from scrambling with the heat. If you want to take this cautious route, which will also thicken the sauce some more, add 1 teaspoon of cornflour when whisking in the lemon juice.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes about 300ml
80g butter (or use coconut oil for dairy-free)
about 4 tbsp honey or sugar
100ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 free-range eggs
pinch of salt
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Whisk in the lemon juice followed by the eggs and salt. This order of additions is important so the honey and lemon cools down the melted butter (or oil) before adding the eggs.
Return the pan to a low heat (choose the lowest you have available). Now, settle in and don’t rush this next step (definitely don’t walk away) until the lemon honey has thickened.
With a back-and-forth motion whisk continually. It doesn’t have to be too vigorous, the main thing is to keep the heat evenly distributed and moving constantly. About 5-8 minutes in you will feel the sauce begin to thicken. Continue whisking over the heat for another minute then remove from the stovetop and continue to whisk off the heat for a few minutes. At this stage you can put the pan into a bowl of cold water while you whisk to speed cooling. Noting, as it cools the sauce will thicken more.
Pour the lemon honey into a clean 300ml jar and leave to cool completely. Store in the fridge and consume within 3 weeks. Dollop over pancakes, spread on buttered toast, or fold through whipped cream to sandwich in a sponge cake. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.