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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Nicole Parton’s Lemon Loaf Supreme

This is my simplified version of a jumbled French recipe that originated with a famous bakery in France. I’m going to do that bakery a favor. I’m not going to tell you its name.  havent the slightest doubt that the “cakes or loaves” (or whatever this bakery wants to call them) made and served by this establishment are superb. Truly, I mean it! 

But the recipe for this Lemon Loaf (and its translation into English) is not superb. It’s ... well, a lemon, confusing and hard to follow. It took six tries, but I’ve reworked it significantly enough that I can call it my own. Which is exactly what Ive done. I clicked the heels of my ruby slippers three times, and out of the oven came... 


Nicole Parton’s Lemon Loaf Supreme:


This recipe has four parts: Simmered Lemon Slices; Lemon Loaf Batter; Lemon Syrup; and Lemon Glaze. Give the instructions a quick but careful read before you start.
To Prepare the Simmered Lemon Slices:

1 large lemon or 1-1/2 medium
3/4 c. (180 mL) water
2/3 c. (160 mL) finely granulated sugar or “castor” or “berry” sugar (see Note)

Three hours before starting loaf recipe, rinse and wipe lemon skins with clean cloth. Discarding pips and ends, cut lemons into 1/8-inch (0.3 mm) slices. Don’t worry if some of these slices break or are not perfectly cut.


Slice!

In a medium covered skillet, simmer water and sugar until sugar is fully dissolved. Add lemon slices, ensuring liquid covers all. Simmer, covered, 20 min. over very low heat; do not let liquid boil! That is very important. When you’re done, you should have about 7 tbsp. lemon liquid.


Simmer!

Remove saucepan from heat, continuing to keep covered. Cool to room temperature. 


Simmered!

Cover and refrigerate sliced lemons and liquid 3 hr. 


Refrigerate and store.

Proceed with Lemon Loaf Batter 3 hr. later.

When ready to use lemons, strain slices, reserving liquid. Do not rinse slices. Set aside with 3 tbsp. of the liquid to use in Lemon Loaf Batter. Cover and refrigerate remaining liquid for later use in Lemon Syrup.

Note: You can prepare your own finely granulated sugar by briefly blenderizing regular granulated sugar to reduce the size of its crystals. Do not wash blender. You’ll need it later!

To Prepare the Lemon Loaf Batter:

1 large lemon
1-1/4 c. (310 mL) finely granulated sugar or “castor” or “berry” sugar (see Note)
4 tbsp. (60 mL) butter or margarine, softened
1-1/2 tsp. (7 mL) lemon extract
1-2/3 c. (410 mL) all-purpose flour 
3/4 tsp. (3.5 mL) baking powder
3/4 tsp. (3.5 mL) baking soda
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 c. (125 mL) full-fat commercial sour cream or unflavored Greek yogurt
3 tbsp. liquid reserved from simmered lemons (reserve remaining liquid)
Simmered, drained, lemon slices to equal about 1/2 c. (125 mL)

This batter recipe moves along quickly. Array, prepare, and measure all ingredients in advance. Spray-grease and flour bottom and sides of a standard 9x5x3-in. (23x13x6 cm) loaf pan, knocking out extra flour before lining pan bottom with parchment rectangle. 

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. with oven rack in middle position. 

Zest lemon finely. Add to granulated sugar, tossing well. Set aside 10-to-15 min. so sugar becomes infused with lemon flavor and scent.


Zest lemon.


Add zest to finely granulated sugar. Set aside 10 min.

Beat butter or margarine briefly. Slowly add zested sugar, beating well between additions. Repeat sugar additions, beating about 10 min. or until mixture appears pale and sugar is well incorporated (My friend Mia calls this “beating to fluffdom”). Stir in lemon extract. 

Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. In second small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream or yogurt, and 3 tbsp. of the liquid reserved from simmered lemons. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in alternate thirds with egg mixture, beginning with flour mixture and pausing to scrape down sides of bowl. Continue to beat until thoroughly combined. 

Cut simmered, drained lemon slices into quarters. With mixer on low, add to batter, mixing thoroughly. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, smoothing batter with back of spoon. 


Beat to fluffdom.

Remove from oven.

Test with a skewer.

Bake 60-to-65 min. or until loaf is golden and shrinks slightly away from pan edges. Thin skewer inserted at loaf’s center should emerge clean and dry when loaf is done. Cool loaf in pan 5 min. 

Note: Reminder: You can prepare your own finely granulated sugar by briefly blenderizing regular granulated sugar to reduce the size of its crystals. Do not wash blender. You’ll need it later! 

While loaf cools, prepare and simmer Lemon Syrup in saucepan over very low heat. 

To Prepare the Lemon Syrup:

1/2 c. (125 mL) water
3 tbsp. (45 mL) finely granulated sugar or “castor” or “berry” sugar (see Note)
4 tbsp. (60 mL) previously reserved liquid from simmered lemons 

Prepare Lemon Syrup as loaf cools in pan 5 min. Loosen loaf around edges with knife or metal spatula. Carefully remove and transfer hot loaf to wire cooling rack positioned over rimmed baking sheet. Peel away parchment, reversing loaf so that upper side is on top. Poke deep holes into hot loaf with skewer. Slowly pour hot Lemon Syrup over hot loaf, allowing to soak. Repeat once. Discard syrup that flows  onto baking sheet. Prepare Lemon Glaze to finish still-warm loaf.

Note: A final reminder: You can prepare your own finely granulated sugar by briefly blenderizing regular granulated sugar to reduce the size of its crystals. It’s time to wash the blender!

To Prepare the Lemon Glaze:

1/3 c. (80 mL) silver thread lemon marmalade (see Glaze Note)
1 tbsp. (15 mL) water

In microwave-safe container or saucepan, warm lemon marmalade and water over low heat about 1-1/2 min., stirring until marmalade melts and mixture thickens enough to coat back of spoon. Do not boil. 


Warm lemon marmalade and water over very low heat.

Using pastry brush, lightly dab glaze over top and sides of still-warm loaf. Don’t over-do it, or glaze will be too thick. 

The famous bakery places extra simmered lemons atop loaf.  
I left the top of my final loaf plain, to avoid duplicating theirs. 


Here’s the texture of my version. I’m a happy camper!

Cool loaf to room temperature, allowing glaze to firm up at least 15 min. before serving. Yields 1 Lemon Loaf Supreme.

Glaze Note: Silver thread lemon marmalade is sold worldwide under the Robertson’s label. Do not use orange marmalade, apricot jelly, or lemon curd to glaze this loaf. And ... should anything go wrong, make the Lemon Crisps below!

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