In a saucepan combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Take pan off heat and cool the syrup. Any extra cooled syrup can be saved in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Using a vegetable peeler cut the yellow part of the lemon from the stem end down to the navel end, forming long 3/4 to 1-inch strips. Bring a heavy small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the peels and cook for 1 minute. Drain and then rinse the peels under cold water. Repeat cooking the peels, 2 more times, in the saucepan with fresh boiling water and rinsing under cold water.
In the same pan combine the peels with 1 cup of simple syrup. Simmer over medium-low heat until the peels are soft, about 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the peels to parchment paper to dry slightly, about 1 hour.
Yield: 12 to 16 strips
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Using an electric mixer, whip the cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and the vanilla and beat to combine. Transfer the whipped cream to a serving bowl. (The whipped cream can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
For the afternoon tea, make a double batch of simple syrup. Reserve half for the tea bar and use the other half to make the candied lemon peel.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis