Friday, April 01, 2005

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Bread

In looking for a way to use up the rest of my meyer lemons, it occured to me to make some sort of baked good. A stretch, I know. Actually, my first thought was to make a lemon pudding. This thought took place before I completely lost my appetite for custardy desserts, so it wouldn't do. I started searching for lemon bread recipes instead.
The most common lemon bread combinations seem to be zucchini lemon and blueberry lemon. I immediately ruled out anything with a glaze, as I wasn't looking for a cake. After perusing several recipes, it occured to me to use a recipe I already had. I simply substituted meyer lemon juice for orange juice and blueberries for cranberries in my orange cranberry bread.
It occured to me that the bread might not be sweet enough with a one-to-one substitution, but I did not alter the amount of sugar for two reasons. First, meyer lemons are noticeably sweeter than ordinary lemons. Second, blueberries are much sweeter than cranberries. I figured that everything would balance out. The other change I made involved the mixing method. Since I used frozen blueberries and did not want the batter to turn pink, I stirred them into the dry ingredients, poured over the wet ingredients and folded the batter together until just combined. This is a thick batter, but the flour protected the blueberries nicely. Also, perhaps having something to do with the weather (it is very dry), the bread took slightly less time to bake today than it ordinarily does. I would think that the lemon substitution would not explain such a change.
Overall, this turned out really well. It was a very cakey bread, not overly moist or heavy but certainly not dry at all. The lemon flavor was strong but not overpowering, and not in the least bit bitter. I loved it.

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated meyer lemon zest
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup dried blueberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Grease a 8x4 inch loaf pan.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, oil and egg in small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
Stir blueberries into dry ingredients to coat. Add lemon mixture to dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Spread evenly in loaf pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.
By the way - this bread gets even more moist and lemony the next day if you wrap it well once it's cooled. Don't make yourself wait, though. Cut a slice and then wrap it up.