Saturday, February 22, 2020

Anna Sultana's Lemon Loaf


This has been a dreary winter for all of us here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Here’s how our weather usually works: 
Our normal winters are packed with short days filled with lots of sun.
But along with the sunshine we get temperatures that can go as low as -40º C.
Don't do any math... at -40º it doesn't matter if it's -40ºC or -40ºF. 
It's the same freaking cold. Really.

When we have overcast skies the temperatures are milder, but it can be depressing and disorienting.
Quite the choice.
I mean, if we'd wanted cloudy, damp weather we'd have moved to Vancouver.


It was cloudy on Groundhog Day, so we’ll have Spring in another month or so.
If we don't get another blizzard in April, as we had in 1997.
Yep, we had a record-setting blizzard, followed by the flood of the century.
Life's never dull on the prairies.

Everyone will be having a new moon tomorrow, so the sky will be really dark at night.
I don’t know about you, but I could use a bit of sunshine right now.
I really need to make something with lemon.

I've heard that the Lemon Loaf is really popular at Starbucks.
This recipe isn’t exactly like theirs.
It doesn’t have Mono And Diglycerides, Modified Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Guar Gum, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate or Glucose.
It just has ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.

This recipe makes a nice moist loaf that keeps well for several days in a cake keeper.
It won't last long, so making two is a good idea.


Hints:

If you don’t have lemon zest you can use 2 Tablespoons lemon extract.

Want something a bit different? 
Add 1/4 Cup poppy seeds or dried cranberries. Blueberries are also nice.

You can put a strip of parchment paper in the bottom of the pans, leaving a bit hanging out, to take the loaves out more easily.

If you want a more lemony and lighter glaze for one loaf, try:
1 Cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice, more or less, for spreading consistency
1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

If you don’t like glazes you can halve the recipe or not use it.

If you love glaze make a bit extra and spread it on a slice’s cut surface to make a moist and lemony open-face sandwich. 

The loaves will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Unglazed and well-wrapped, the loaves keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Don’t store these loaves in the fridge. That will dry them out.


                        Lemon Loaf (2 Loaves)
                        
The loaves

Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch glass loaf pans

Place in a bowl
6 large eggs
Allow to warm to room temperature.

Place in a large bowl 
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Combine and set aside.

Place in a large mixer bowl
the warmed large eggs
2 Cups sugar
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix on low until combined. 

While the mixer is running, slowly add
2/3 Cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325º F

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. 
Add
1 Cup canola oil
zest of two lemons 
Stir until completely mixed.

Pour the batter into the two prepared loaf pans.
Bake for 55 minutes.
A toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaves should come out with just a few moist crumbs but no batter attached.
Remove the pans from the oven and place on wire cooling racks. 
Cool for at least 30 minutes. A few hours is better.

The Glaze
Place in a medium bowl 
1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk 
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Mix together until smooth.

When the loaves have cooled completely, remove from pans and place one on a platter.
Drizzle glaze over the loaf.
When the glaze has set, slice and serve. 

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