L for Lemon: Lemon Brightens Any Day or Should I Say Dish!
By the time Friday rolls around, I am running out of ideas as inspiration for dinner. More or less we end up eating take out or junk food (Yes, we do eat junk too). One tradition I diligently maintain on Friday’s is baking something sweet for the children. A small treat for the end of the school week and an indulgent start to the weekend.
How perfect is it that I have the letter L as inspiration as I adore lemons. Indian cooking involves using lemons in primarily savory dishes; it’s only when I moved to the States did I appreciate the versatility of lemons by showcasing them in both savory and sweet dishes.
After salt and pepper, lemon may be the most commonly and widely used flavoring in the culinary arts. Lemon brings a tangy flavor and vibrant aroma which in essence enhances the other flavors in a dish. If any thing, lemon interacts with our taste buds, highlighting the flavors even more. Few dishes I consistently use lemon in are risotto, meat marinades, cocktails, and dessert. Today I am sharing two of my most requested/desired lemon sweets. After all, it is Friday!!
Lemon Pull Apart Loaf
Highly addictive. So don’t expect left overs.
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (sugar
- 1 envelope instant yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 lemons grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
Cream Cheese Icing
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Stir 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Heat the butter and milk over low heat till butter is melted. Remove from heat and add water. Add vanilla extract after 1 minute.
- With the paddle attachment mix the wet ingredients to the flour on slow speed till dough comes together.
- Add eggs one by one till incorporated.
- Add rest of the flour and resume mixing on medium-low speed till the dough is smooth and slightly sticky.
- Place the dough in a large bowl and gently knead more flour till the dough is not sticky. cover the bowl and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the sugar and zests together.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly spray a 9-5 inch loaf pan.
- Deflate the dough and roll it into a 20X12 inch rectangle. Using a pizza cutter slice the dough into 5 strips (12X4). Brush the layers with melted butter.
- Sprinkle 11/2 tbs of lemon filling on 1 rectangle. Top it with another slice and sprinkle lemon filling. Repeat with all the layers ending with the 5th slice.
- Gently slice the stack crosswise into 6 equal strips. Fit these layered strips width wise into the pan, cut side up and side by side. Loosely cover and rest for 1 hour.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Whip cream cheese, confectioners sugar, milk, and lemon juice until creamy and smooth.
- Gently invert the cake onto a plate and drizzle the top with the icing.
- Serve the cake room temperature and let people dig in.
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 4 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 12 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
- Fresh raspberries (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Using electric mixer, beat butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 3 teaspoons lemon peel in large bowl until blended, then beat until fluffy and pale yellow. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in half of flour. Add buttermilk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; beat to blend. Beat in remaining flour.
- Drop 1 rounded tablespoonful batter into each muffin liner. Spoon 1 teaspoon raspberry jam over. Cover with remaining batter, dividing equally.
- Bake cupcakes until tester inserted halfway into centers comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on rack. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel in small bowl. Spoon half of icing over 6 cupcakes. Whisk 1 tablespoon raspberry jam into remaining icing. Spoon over remaining cupcakes. Let stand until icing sets, about 30 minutes. Garnish with raspberries.
Adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine.