Our box of Pasadena, California lemons and limes has arrived! Such a luxury! Each year, my aunt Sharon harvests Meyers lemons, pale green limes and huge, bright yellow lemons from the trees in her yard and the neighbors. For those of us here in Maine, this sunny burst of citrus is a welcome treat for our winter-weary palates.
I eagerly unpack the box, tenderly unwrapping each precious piece of fruit, fondling it gently and checking for freezing and shipping damage. For the first few days, we admire bowls of lemons and limes scattered throughout the house, pausing to enjoy the fragrance, and dreaming of warmer days.
My culinary repertoire enjoys a big boost with this exciting addition of citrus. Lemon zest and lime juice are delicious additions to a stir-fry, soups, even cooked veggies. As a flavor enhancer, citrus helps to minimize the salt needed to bring out the savory goodness in food.
When the quality of the fruits in bowls starts to diminish, I squeeze the juice and grate the peel and store both in small jars in the freezer. This year, I also pureed whole fruits in the food processor. This puree I can use in cooking and baking throughout the year, as in the recipe for Lemon Cake with Wild Blueberry Sauce.
The severe drought in California resulted in a much smaller citrus crop this year. For those of us that ponder the sustainability of our climate and world, this is a disturbing trend. All the more reason to be so grateful for my winter box of sunshine!
Lemon Cake with Wild Blueberry Sauce
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup finely pureed lemon (use food processor, or substitute lemon zest)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 1 cup Wild Blueberry Jams
- 1 cup wild blueberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
FOR THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pan.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the buttermilk and beat to combine. Whisk the baking soda into the flour and add, stirring well. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 – 40 minutes.
- Remove cake from the oven and let cook on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let finish cooling. Place the cake on a serving platter.
FOR THE GLAZE:
- To prepare the sauce, combine the Wild Blueberry Jam with the wild blueberries (and sugar, if desired) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer briefly.
- Pour ½ of the glaze over the cooled cake and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Use the remaining glaze to dribble on cake slices when serving.
- Makes 12 servings.