As I profess often in my posts, I’m a summer girl through and through. So, this particular winter of the polar vortex, snowmageddon, ice storms, school cancellations on repeat, like a bad version of Groundhog Day (movie, not holiday), has been – as I’m sure for many – wearing down my soul.
So, when I saw Meyer lemons at Trader Joe’s last week, I gravitated towards the display like it was California sunshine beaming upon me.
If you aren’t familiar with these citrus beauties, they are more round and more orange in color than your typical lemon and they are less puckery, too. If there was a food that could be a temporary cure for the winter blues (by way of color, aroma and taste), the Meyer lemon would have my vote.
I found an old recipe for lemon quick bread and I figured I’d try it with my Meyer lemons. Then I saw a super creative idea in the Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light where you poach three pears and then position them into your favorite quick bread batter. As you can see by the photos, it makes for pretty cool presentation when sliced and served. (Here’s a video on how it works.)
So, instead of bread and milk, I’m going to replenish my Meyer lemon supply for the next winter weather punch. (These recipes are next on my list to try: Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette, Sparkling Meyer Lemonade and Portabellos with Meyer Lemon Pesto.)
Pear & Meyer Lemon Bread
3 cups water
1 cup sugar, divided
3 Bosc pears
2 Meyer lemons (for zest and juice)
1 vanilla bean, split & scraped
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Extra flour for dusting
To poach pears, bring water and 1/3 cup sugar to a boil in a medium pot. Add pears, zest from 1 lemon and vanilla bean (pod and seeds); reduce to medium heat, cover and poach for 5 minutes. Remove from water and let pears cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make batter, in a stand mixer bowl (or with a hand mixer in a large bowl), beat together butter and remaining 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes.) Beat in egg.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In small bowl, whisk together zest from the other Meyer lemon and juice from both of the lemons with the Greek yogurt. Then while the mixer is running, add some of the flour mixture to butter mix, then about one-third of the lemon Greek yogurt, and repeat until all the ingredients are mixed together to form a thick batter (but be careful not to over mix.)
Coat 9x5-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Cut bottoms off of the cooled pears so they can stand up in pan and peak up about ½-inch over top. Brush pears with flour so batter will stick to pears and place pears in pan. Carefully spoon batter into pan; completely around and between the pears. Bake for about 55 minutes until bread tests clean with a toothpick and bread starts to turn golden brown on top. Cool slightly before slicing.
Do you have a go-to food or recipe that chase your winter blues away for bit? Please share!