Wow. Would you believe that I started this whole thing on a whim? Well, it’s true—it was something to keep my mind occupied in the middle of one sleepless night. And now I’m at 200 posts and over 150 recipes. Just wow. I still love every moment I spend in the kitchen and every moment I spend here with you, dear reader, so thank you for joining me on my cooking adventures.
If you’ve been following along, you probably know by now that I’m absolutely obsessed with citrus fruit. I figured that on this milestone which just happens to fall in the middle of citrus season, I would treat myself to yet another unusual citrus variety, the Etrog citron. Many times before had I pined over the pricey citron, turning the fruit over and over in my hands, inhaling its sweet perfume, but this was the first time I gave in and brought one home with me.
The Etrog citron is a rather curious football-shaped fruit, larger than a lemon but smaller than a grapefruit. It has pebbled yellow skin, ridges at the stem end, a voluptuous nipple at the blossom end, and its aroma is strong enough to fill an entire room. Sliced open, the Etrog citron reveals a small center of seedy flesh with tough membranes. Most of the fruit is white pith.
It is for the fragrant rind that the citron is so prized. Raw, the rind is almost as crisp as an apple and tastes surprisingly sweet without a trace of bitterness. Thin slices would make a refreshing addition to a salad. Most often the peel is preserved in sugar, and, lacking any better ideas, I candied mine.
The juice of the citron seems to be even sourer than that of a lemon. My Etrog gave up but a single tablespoon.
Next, I will try to get my hands on a Buddha’s Hand citron. When I do, you can be sure I’ll tell you all about that too. In the meantime, can I offer you a slice of my Pound Cake with Candied Citron?
Pound Cake with Candied Citron
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
1 pound all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 to 8 ounces candied (but not coated in sugar) citron peel, diced
1 pound sugar
8 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ ounces powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed citron juice
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Butter 2 8 ½×4 ½×3-inch loaf pans and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Toss in the citron peel.
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on high for 5 to 6 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs two at a time until thoroughly combined and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time, mixing on low for only a few seconds after each addition until just combined, and stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix. Divide the batter among the loaf pans. Bake for about an hour and 25 minutes, or until the edges of the cakes start to shrink away from the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 15 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks and finish cooling completely.
Whisk together the powdered sugar and citron juice and drizzle over the cakes.
Makes 2 large loaves, each serving 6 to 8. If you have it, add a tablespoon of grated citron zest along with the candied peel. Use Meyer lemons if citron is unavailable.