Around the size of a small grapefruit, recognized by its slightly bumpy skin, Yuzu citrus is the trendiest ingredient of these last five years. It’s extremely fragrant zest inspires chefs, pastry chefs and even chocolatiers. At this time of the year we all steam ahead in creating and working on new dishes, using exciting and exotic ingredients as part of our week long ‘French Culinary Adventure’ with ‘le Calabash’ and 2015 will see us introduce our ‘Culinary Adventurers’ to the Yuzu.
Mistakenly called the Japanese lemon, Yuzu is the fruit of the tree eponymous that only produces this citrus fruit at its eighteenth year. Cultivated in Korea and Japan on the island of Shikoku, Japan’s fresh Yuzu is almost impossible to find in France for certain health reasons. Fortunately, it grows in our latitudes, and can be found in specialized boutiques.
Rich seeds, not so juicy, Yuzu is often used for its zest, but nothing is lost in this citrus fruit. Cooked initially for savoury dishes, Yuzu made a sensational debut in baking and chocolate making. The marriage with chocolate is even more compelling – the number of chocolate bars with dark chocolate and Yuzu is proof of this.
Yuzu goes perfectly well with other citrus, such as lime or yellow lemon, tangerine and grapefruit. It strengthens their flavor by providing a touch of exoticism. It is very easy to integrate it into all sorts of preparations: such as the juice to flavour ganache, a sorbet or simply mix it with maple syrup or honey citrus to finish a fruit salad; purée to make fruit jellies or apricot-yuzu/grapefruit-yuzu combinations; grated zest in a sponge cake or a citrus cake filled with a yuzu curd; adds a natural aroma to flavour whipped cream; flavours for cocktails or for finishing a verrine. One can imagine a tart on a shortbread base, with a half-sphere of creamy yuzu and mini Swiss meringues to counteract the acidity and some lime zest grated on top.