If asked to choose the single most important ingredient in my kitchen, I would choose the lemon, first and foremost for the peel and secondly for its juice. The lemon is refreshing. On the island of Sicily the lemon is quite large and looks like a bumpy grapefruit. The Sicilian lemon is to be found on street markets throughout southern Italy. This citrus fruit is an integral part of Italian baking, and thus the lemon and its peel are a cupboard essential.
I discovered the method of infusing flour with lemon zest by chance. While planning ahead during a busy cooking schedule, I decided one day to put my freshly grated lemon peel into a jar filled with wheat flour. Hoping to infuse flavors slightly and to win time for the next day, I was surprised to discover in the morning that lemon peel had dried in the flour. I also found that the perfume of the lemon had permeated the entire jar. After sifting the flour to remove the dried lemon curls, I baked a cake topped with pine nuts. The result was subtle yet distinct. Since the success of my experiment, I keep a jar of lemon-scented flour in my cupboard.
Although you may not bake at home on a daily or even weekly basis, lemon-scented flour is perfect for pancakes, shortcrust pastry and even for pasta.