A yuzu is a fragrant Japanese citrus fruit that looks like an orange but has a mild lemon-lime flavor. The one in the photo above is a rather pretty specimen, as yuzu are often lumpy and sometimes oddly shaped.
Bits of the rind are used to flavor the ozoni soup that is traditionally eaten at New Year’s, and yuzu is also used to scent hot baths in this season.
I recently learned a new way to use a yuzu, thanks to Tamako Sakamoto’s “Taste of Home” cooking column in The Daily Yomiuri. Her latest installment includes several yuzu recipes, and the one for yuzu madeleines sounded like something I just had to try.
Here are my results:
The recipe calls for two tablespoons of yuzu juice, but the baseball-sized specimen I used yielded just a little bit less than that amount. (Yuzu are juicy, but less so than other citrus fruits, and they have very large seeds that take up space inside.) I compensated by adding extra grated rind, and the citrus flavor came through loud and clear in the finished product.
Getting the madeleines out of their pans was a little difficult, but this is probably because I didn’t butter the pans before pouring the batter in. Since the batter itself is nearly one-third butter, I thought it wouldn’t be necessary. Live and learn. They still tasted delicious.
(December 2013) This post originally included a link to the recipe on The Daily Yomiuri website. That page is no longer online — and The Daily Yomiuri is now The Japan News — but you can find many of Sakamoto-san’s recipes in her new cookbook, “Cook Japanese with Tamako.” Although yuzu madeleines are not in the book, but there is a recipe for iced yuzu cookies. Find it on amazon here.