Saturday, February 25, 2017

Intensely Lemon

This post has been sitting in my files, waiting until I'm feeling better (have had a nasty cold since about Feb. 10), but I think it is getting stale, while I'm still coughing, so posting it anyway! I would probably be completely back to normal but I have kept doing scholarship group work and have even gone out for a couple of meals, so not everything has been on hold. True, I've read a lot of books and spent time in bed...never a terrible thing, right? The lemon bread is long gone, but I will make it was really good!

I've always loved the flavor of fresh lemon. Lemonade is still one of my favorite beverages and lemon sugar cookies were my favorite as a child, even more than chocolate chip. Our local dairy made a lemon custard ice cream to die for. There is something fresh and bold about lemon that wakes things up.

Recently a friend gave me some Meyer lemons from her home garden. It took me longer than I would have liked to get to this next recipe, but life has been super busy, so what can you do?

Although I've made lemon quick breads before, this time I tried a new recipe from Rosemary of An Italian In My Kitchen. I was intrigued that you cut soft butter into the dry ingredients as you do for pie crust, then add the egg-milk mixture. I really wanted to see how that turned out! It also meant that I could do everything by hand and in just two for the egg-milk mixture one one for the batter. Of course I used soy milk and cut in soft non-dairy margarine, but I'll bet it would be even better with unsalted butter and whole milk. Keep an eye on it toward the end of baking time. There is enough sugar in the batter that it burns easily. Check it with a toothpick earlier than the suggested time, just to be sure.

This is a delicious, intensely lemon flavored loaf, with the texture of a pound cake. I doubled the amount of lemon zest called for and doubled the amount of syrup for brushing on after the loaf is finished, while still warm. I also poked some thin holes all over the top before adding the syrup, so that it could penetrate into the loaf. All of that added to the lemon effect and to making each bite moist and delicious. With a cup of hot tea it's pure heaven!

If you only have one lemon, I'm sure that you could follow the recipe and it would still be a yummy lemon loaf. This would make a wonderful gift, too, and it is dense enough that it would probably ship well. Extra lemons? Make one to give and one to keep!

Fresh Lemon Bread
adapted from Rosemary at An Italian In My Kitchen

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (zest from one lemon) (I used zest from 2 lemons)
4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (22 ml) (I used about twice this amount, juice from two lemons)
2 1/4 cups flour (270 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (7 1/2 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt (4 grams)
1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided (276 grams)(I added another tablespoon for the pan)
3/4 cup butter softened (170 grams) (I used non-dairy margarine)
3 eggs, large
3/4 cup milk (177 ml) (I used soy milk)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C), grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. (I sprinkled a tablespoon extra of sugar over the part I greased, but it would be fine without and might not burn so easily).

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and 1 1/4 cups sugar, add the softened butter and, with a pastry blender, blend until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the lemon peel.

In a small bowl, put the eggs and beat lightly with a fork, add milk, and mix until combined, then pour this mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until flour is moistened.

In the prepared loaf pan add the batter. Bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours (or until toothpick comes out clean). Cool, then move to a wire rack.

In a small pot add 4 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir to combine. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring to a boil until thickened. With a pastry brush, brush syrup over the top of the bread. (I poked holes with a wooden skewer while bread was warm and then brushed on the syrup over the warm bread until it was all absorbed. I let it sit in the pan until cool, then turned it out onto a serving board.)

Tightly wrap any leftovers and store in the refrigerator.

1 comment :

  1. Ooh, that looks delicious. We have a Smitten Kitchen olive oil lemon loaf recipe we were going to try, but the Meyers are somehow mysteriously being eaten up in various other ways, including being zested for everything... we need to go back and shake the tree.