One of my favorite quickbread recipes is the Coconut Bread from bills, Bill Granger‘s restaurant in Sydney, Australia. It’s one of those recipes that works so well as-is that I am never really tempted to stray from making the recipe just as it is written. So, when I had the idea to add some lemon flavor into the bread for a really bright and spring-like loaf, I had to give myself a little pep talk. I knew that the lemon and coconut combination would be delicious, I just didn’t want to miss out on the original. I solved my problem by making both.
I added lemon to this bread in two ways: fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. There is enough to give the loaf a really fresh taste, but not so much that it overpowers the flavor of the coconut. The bread is somewhat dense, primarily because of the large amount of coconut in the batter, but it is still tender and not heavy at all. The coconut also contributes a nice chewiness and moistness to the bread. You can use sweetened or unsweetened coconut in this recipe. I usually use sweetened, shredded coconut, and the finished loaf is never too sweet or cake like, so don’t worry about ending up with something too sweet with the use of sweetened coconut.
This bread is excellent on its own, but it also slices and toasts very well. I think a thick, toasted piece with butter is a great breakfast or snack – and this just happens to be the way that the original bread is served for breakfast at bills.
Lemon Coconut Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cups milk (lowfat is fine)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/3 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in sugar and coconut.
In a medium bowl or a large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in egg mixture. Stir until just combined and only a few streaks of flour remain.
Add in melted butter and stir until just smooth, being careful not to overmix.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.