"Sourcing" Local Yuzu for my Yuzu Bonbons

Some people have asked me how I go about making my different flavors for my bonbons, so I thought I’d share the process with you today. I will take you through making my Yuzu flavored ganache.


I’d say that 10 years ago, not many people outside of Japan knew what a yuzu was. This tart, intensely flavored citrus fruit is highly prized for its nuanced flavor that is distinctly different than a lemon, tangerine or orange. Its flavor is sort of a combination of these, if you throw in kumquat for good measure. But most of the flavor comes from the bitter skin, and the inside has so many seeds that a juicy fruit might only yield about a teaspoon or two of juice. In other words, they are a time consuming fruit to use. Time is also a factor-the fruit ripen, as do most citrus, in the winter, but unlike lemons, yuzu fruit do not last long on the trees before spoiling.


So, my journey for yuzus starts winding up Lucas Valley road and then really winding up a narrow road my brother Dan’s home orchard in Nicasio. He grows yuzus and very often ends up with way too many to deal with.


After picking and weighing the fruit, I use Dan’s battery powered spiral tool to remove much of the outer skin. They are juiced with his old-school Hamilton Beach had juicer (above right). Yuzu are only the size of a Satsuma tangerine, so cutting them and juicing would take way more time.


The peel then gets blanched to remove some of the bitterness and sits overnight, the seeds get wrapped in cheesecloth, the juice goes in the fridge, and the pulp goes into cold water to soak overnight. The next day, the peel gets blanched again and then I take out my copper pot and thermometer to cook up some yuzu marmalade.

Since I need the marmalade to be relatively smooth to use in the ganache, I puree it in a food processor.  To make the ganache, I use cream, Manjari 66% chocolate from Madagascar, a tiny bit of milk chocolate, the yuzu marmalade, some sugar (did I mention yuzus are very tart?) and European style butter. I pour this into a special frame I had made for this purpose to set overnight. 

The next day, I coat one side of the set ganache with chocolate to make the pieces easier to dip, and then cut it into rectangles. Each piece is dipped into a large pool of tempered chocolate, deposited it onto a parchment lined pan and and lines of colored white chocolate piped randomly on top. Voila- the Yuzu bonbon is ready to box up or eat.