Sunday, February 1, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons...

I really like lemons. Zesting a lemon is by far, one of the most fragrant experiences you can have, in my opinion. Nothing smells quite as alive as a lemon. Lemons clear your head, shooing away the fog of the day.

This loaf is my version of Dorie Greenspan's Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze which appeared in the February 2005 issue of Bon Appetit. I usually have a slice with a cup of tea in the middle of the night after the kids have long been asleep. It both relaxes and recharges me, and if you think that is a juxtaposition of sorts, just try it and you'll know what I mean.

Lemon Yogurt Loaf

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup fat-free Greek style yogurt (or regular fat free yogurt if Greek isn't available)
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
1/2 tsp (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, for greasing the loaf pan

For Glaze:
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 lemon (with peel), sliced extremely thinly, seeded, and chopped

Preheat oven to 350*F.
Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch nonstick loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir the flour and baking powder together with a fork. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon extract, lemon peel, and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Add all of the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and whisk until combined and there are only smallish lumps. Whisk in oil until combined and no lumps appear. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

While loaf is baking, place glaze ingredients in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium low heat until mixture starts to bubble. Gently swirl pan until all of the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for an additional 3 minutes, or until the lemon peel becomes translucent. Turn heat off and set aside.

When the loaf is finished baking, allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Place loaf right side up on cooling rack, and set rack over a piece of aluminum foil or back over the empty loaf pan. Using a toothpick, bamboo skewer, or a fork; pierce the top of the loaf every half inch or so. Spoon glaze and lemon peel over the loaf slowly, covering the entire top of the loaf. Let cool completely before slicing.

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