Thursday, February 11, 2010

My First Citron and My Two-Hundredth Post!

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
Printable Recipe

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.


Irina said...

The pond cake is one of my favorite cakes, and yours is the best looking one. It makes me drool.

Asha @ FSK said...

Congratulation on the 200th!!! :))

And you cake is stunning!

Anonymous said...

This looks absolutely delicious! I love pound cake but have never made it myself, but seeing your post has convinced me to try it!

A Bowl Of Mush said...

Wow, congratulations on your 200th post!!

I love lemony treats like this, looks really lovely! :)

Kitty said...

Hi Lucy: I see we have two things in common: We write cookbooks, and you like citrus! (And we have both taught at In Good Taste in Portland!)

I too have been obsessed with citrus from my garden, lately: I had so many tangerines, I had to make jam, and I am now n the throes of making blood orange jelly.

Since my specialty in Moroccan cuisine, I also make Moroccan preserved lemons. That's a good way to go, as well.

I just purchased a gorgeous Buddha's Hand citrus at our local farmer's market a few weeks back. I love to use them as a focal point in my kitchen (their scent is lovely, as well!) Come and visit my website!

Keep on cooking,

author, Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from My Moroccan Kitchen

Claudia said...

Hearty congrats on your 200th post - I cannot believe it took me so long to find you - the pound cake is stunning - I must be on the lookout for this citron!

avaserfi said...

We made a variation of this for breakfast today. Meyer lemons rather than the citron. It was great, of course it wasn't as pretty as yours, but I think that is due to the larger loaf pan used.

Over all a great pound cake, I can't wait for breakfast tomorrow!

Iain Lawrence said...

Hi. I realize this post is a year old, but I'm desperate. My father, nearly 90, has been searching for citron that he can candy for Christmas peel. Can you please tell me where you got your citron?
I Lawrence

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Iain Lawrence,
I got the citron at New Seasons Market in Portland, Oregon. Hope that helps and good luck with your search!

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