|Sweet Coconut-Lime Loaf. Moist, tangy & delicious!|
It's a fact that as we get older, our palates evolve.
There are many foods that I did not like as a kid that I now find irresistable. The list ranges from the benign, like fresh mushrooms or green peppers, to the obscure, like pesto and sharp cheese. My palate, if not my maturity, has grown beyond these distastes. Nowadays, the list of foods I hate is shortened to, well, hot dogs, and things that taste like hot dogs.
While our bodies age and reveal food intolerances (ironically, I now like cooked onions, though they really don't like me!), we do grow up and our taste buds and brains start to open flavour doors we had otherwise thought closed.
So, as a grown up who is mostly mature, I have come to love coconut. It's a flavour that I never really cared for until about seven or eight years ago, and as those years have passed, so has my love of coconut emerged. Suddenly the world opened up, and coconut ice, coconut ice cream, coconut milk-based curries, coconut shrimp, and of course piña coladas are appealing to me. I'm even one of the four or five people in all of Canada who will buy a Bounty chocolate bar — a real coconut treat, savored after I chip off the thick dust accumulated on the wrapper from years on the shelf.
The good news is that even in small little towns, you can find coconut at the grocery store — in the baking aisle as dried coconut (grated, desiccated, flaked); or in the "ethnic" section, as coconut milk (regular or light), coconut water (refreshing!), and creamed coconut (small solid bars of coconut that can be blended into sauces, drinks, or soups).
Fresh coconuts are sometimes available here in Canada, but I would recommend that you save that purchase for when you are actually in coconut country down south, where the freshness and uniqueness of the treat will truly make up for the inconvenience of cracking it open. Fresh coconut meat is a phenomenal treat if you can ever get your hands on it.
Recently, out of necessity due to an unexpected lack of lemons in the house, I adapted an Edna Staebler "More Food that Schmecks" recipe for lemon poppyseed loaf and turned it into a lime and coconut loaf. The results were much more than satisfactory!
This is a moist, tangy treat that isn't even all that bad for you. Please note that I've lowered the amount of sugar throughout the recipe, and the fat content is actually pretty good compared to many loaves or cakes. You don't need to skimp any more than this, and if you do, I don't want to hear about how bland and boring your loaf was!
This taste-of-the-tropics recipe calls for dried coconut. You are usually best off buying unsweetened coconut, either flaked or desiccated. You won't use more than 1/2 cup, so it's a good time to think of other ways to put the rest of that package to use.
SWEET COCONUT-LIME LOAF
1 cup all-purpose Flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (or just use more white)
1/2 cup Unsweetened dried coconut minus 1 teaspoon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup Granulated white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon white rum
1/2 teaspoon lime juice (fresh is preferred)
3 tablespoons white sugar (trust me!)
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup at most)
1 teaspoon dried coconut
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Wash the lime with soap and water, rinsing well. Dry it off well with a towel before you grate the zest.
Mix your first five ingredients: (both types of flour, coconut, baking powder, salt and lime zest) in a large bowl.
In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, flavoring, and lime juice. Add this to the dry ingredients, and stir until fully mixed. Don't beat it to death, though.
Pour into a smallish lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, checking to be sure the middle is cooked. Add more time if necessary (if the edges are browning before the loaf is done, lightly cover it with foil for the last bit of baking. Just poke a few holes in the foil to prevent steam from accumulating!).
Meanwhile, make up your glaze. Put the lime juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often. Bringing mixture to a light boil and remove from heat. Add coconut, and set aside.
When the loaf is done, remove the pan from oven and set on a cooling rack. Spoon over the lime glaze, ensuring you cover the entire top of the loaf. Some will pool at the corners of the pan, but just let it soak in.
Allow the loaf to finish cooling, then remove carefully from pan (score around the edges with a knife). Slice when mostly or fully cooled. Don't use a bread knife for this, as it will tear the crusty edges apart too much. A carving knife will work perfectly.
This will freeze well either whole or sliced (wrap very well in foil or plastic wrap and put in an airtight bag), but I bet it won't actually be around that long!