Tag Archives: dessert

Lemon Blueberry Sunshine Loaf

Some days we need a little sunshine. Heck, some years we need it. This would be one of those days in one of those years. This recipe is one I have been meaning to post since the day, in the depths of winter, a glorious box of Meyer lemons arrived from Cousin D in California. As if the lemons weren’t treat enough, they concealed some vintage lederhosen, which of course EVERYONE needs.

Similarly, everyone needs a bit if sunshine, and this loaf (easily Veganized) serves it up.  It comes straight from Cookie and Kate, and was the answer to many questions, like:

What can I make that uses every part of these luscious lemons?
What can I make that is easy and delish?
What can pass off as a homemade dessert when we have visitors, or a satisfying snack or breakfast when we don’t?
What’s going to hit the above and have some redeeming nutritional qualities?

This is the answer to all that! I hope you like it, and that it brings a little sunshine to your day. After seeing what lemon zest does to sugar you will never let your lemons go unzested again.

Lemon Blueberry Sunshine Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 medium lemons, preferably organic, to be zested and juiced
  • 1 cup sugar (organic cane sugar if you’re fancy)
  • ¾ cup plain whole-milk (full fat) yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 3 extra-large eggs (aquafaba works great too)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not defrost!)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Optional accompaniments: coconut whipped cream or regular whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter and flour a 8½ by 4¼ by 2½-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Pour the sugar into a separate medium-sized mixing bowl. Grate all the zest from the lemons. Rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is yellow and fragrant. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla to the sugar mixture. Whisk well, until the ingredients are combined.
  4. When the mixture is well blended, gently whisk in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil, making sure it’s all incorporated. The batter will be shiny. In a separate bowl, toss the blueberries with about one teaspoon flour (this will help prevent them from sinking while the cake bakes.) Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sides just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons lemon juice and two teaspoons honey just long enough for you to whisk the honey into the juice. You can do this in your smallest saucepan over medium-low heat or in brief bursts in the microwave. Once the honey is mixed in, taste it—it should be pleasantly tart. If it’s too sour, mix in more honey. Using a pastry brush, brush the lemon-honey glaze on top of the warm cake. Repeat until you have no more liquid left.
  7. Run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen. Unmold the cake by placing a large plate or cutting board upside down over the loaf pan and carefully turning it over. Turn the cake back onto a flat surface to cool completely. Then slice and serve!

Bringing it:

This is the PERFECT offering to bring anywhere anytime. It’s portable, sturdy and easy to eat at any venue. Bring it on!

Pilgrim Pie: When cranberries get nutty

Here’s an idea. Since this Thanksgiving is going to be necessarily smaller, probably weird and definitely unique, maybe we take a different approach. Maybe we bag the turkey and the hassle of all those sides, cut to the chase and make it all about pie.

I know…ain’t gonna happen. Once everybody gets themselves swabbed for COVID before showing up, they’re going to deserve a proper feast for the effort.

But for some of us, it’s still all about pie. For a new take on it this year, I highly suggest Pilgrim Pie, AKA the cranberry curd tart that has been all over the Internet. It’s kind of like a lemon meringue pie but with cranberries and without the meringue. With the toasted nut crust it definitely becomes it’s own thing.

This version is a hybrid of the one that appeared recently in the New York Times and the one in the Hannaford flyer. It is the best of both recipes. As a bonus, I sifted through the hundreds of comments on the NY Times one (you’re welcome, and…damn those readers have a lot to say!) and assimilated the complaints and suggestions into hacks and options. Because it took me three pies to get a decent photo, I got a lot of practice with all my tweaks.

Bottom line: Make this pie! I know you need pumpkin and apple and pecan and maybe mincemeat for that one person who insists it is edible.  I feel your pain. But I urge you to dig deep. It’s Thanksgiving and we’re all hanging on by a thread. One thing you CAN handle is another pie.

Some notes: The nut crust is what really does it for me. I have tried it as written, with hazelnuts, and also with almonds and a mix of almonds and walnuts. Love the nut you’re with. For a healthier version the pecan coconut crust from knockout vegan pumpkin pie would also be divine, especially if you doubled it and made it super thick like this one.

The filling is strained through a sieve, and you will need a rubber spatula for this. Some rogue commenters didn’t bother straining the filling and said it was just fine that way, so if you’re the rustic type go for it. If you’re going for perfection, do scrape the sides of the pan periodically with that rubber spatula as it cooks, to keep the filling silky smooth .

That’s all. Happy Baking!  

Size matters? Not so much. With pie it’s all good!

Pilgrim Pie

Ingredients

For the nut crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups raw hazelnuts or sliced almonds.
  • 1 cup flour (rice flour to go GF, sprouted wheat flour to be fancy)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter

For the cranberry curd:

  • 12 ounces cranberries (~3 cups)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 chunks

Method

  1. Make the crust: Heat oven to 325 degrees. If using hazelnuts, roast them on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, until skins darken and crack. Put roasted nuts in a clean towel and rub off skins. Discard skins and let nuts cool. For sliced almonds, 10 minutes of toasting ought to do it.
  2. In a food processor, grind nuts. Add the flour and salt and pulse together. Add the cut up butter and pulse until it hangs together when you squeeze a bit of it.
  3. Press dough evenly into the bottom and around sides of a 10-inch tart pan or 9-inch pie dish; Prick bottom with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes (or several days if desired).
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chilled tart shell about 15 minutes until lightly brown. Cool.
  5. While the crust bakes and cools, make the cranberry curd: Put cranberries, sugar, water and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until cranberries have popped and softened, about 10 minutes. Puree the cranberries in a food processor until smooth (careful here—they’re hot), wipe out the pan, then strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve back into the saucepan, pressing on solids with a rubber spatula. Discard solids (or sneak them on toast to bide your time). You can also use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, then strain it into another saucepan.
  6. Combine eggs and egg yolks into a bowl and beat lightly. Slowly whisk 1/3 cup of the warm cranberry liquid into the eggs to temper, then pour eggs into the saucepan and whisk together.
  7. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula until mixture has thickened and reaches 170 degrees (8-12 minutes if you, like me, can’t find that dang thermometer)
  8. Remove from heat, whisk in butter one chunk at a time until fully incorporated, then whisk in lemon juice.
  9.  If using immediately, let cool to room temperature-ish. If working ahead, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap (press wrap against curd) and refrigerate. (Curd may be cooked up to 1 day ahead.)
  10. Pour cooled cranberry curd into the cooled prebaked tart shell and smooth top with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes to set curd. Cool on a rack. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  11. Serve topped with whipped cream.

Variations:

Healthy it up a bit with the pecan coconut crust from this Vegan pumpkin pie.

Sub in orange zest and juice for the lemon zest and juice.

Go nutty and switch out the nuts with whatever turns your crank

That’s about all I’m going to mess with here. It’s darned near perfect.