Clementines are more than just a refreshing fruity treat, and this clementine loaf is proof! The adorable citrus brings big flavor to this holiday-themed sweet.
Today, I present to you a dessert inspired by film. I don’t know about you, but I love some food inspiration with my entertainment. After I watched ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,’ I knew I had to try my hand at a clementine dessert. Instead of a round cake like the one in the film, I went for a loaf, and wow, it is so delicious. In addition to turning the dessert into sweet bread (who doesn’t love eating their dessert in bread form?), this version has a few secret ingredients that make it extra special.
Why You’ll Love This Clementine Loaf
Great texture and taste – The citrusy sweetness is enough to have you hooked, but the light, fluffy texture makes it even more enjoyable. And despite being tender and cake-like, it has structure, so you get nice, clean slices.
Wonderfully aromatic – The process from start to finish will have your kitchen smelling like a dream. Boiling the fruits to make them easier to blend (we’ll talk more about this in a bit) releases a sweet, tangy, and delicate scent that you get to enjoy again as the loaves bake.
Two-loaf yield – Yes, you read that right! This recipe yields not one but two clementine loaves, which is great because, after your first slice, you will definitely want more.
Great use of clementines – I hate to waste these little fruits, don’t you? However, they always come in larger 5-pound bags/crates, and honestly, I can never eat them all. Instead of having them sit around until they go bad, I use them in a clementine loaf.
Clementine Loaf Ingredients Notes
To make clementine loaves, you will need:
- Clementines: Whole clementines are used in this recipe, so obviously, you want to make the best selections possible. To do that, feel to ensure that each fruit is relatively firm with some bounce back and a pleasant scent. Weight also indicates freshness. Clementines shouldn’t feel too light. If they do, they probably aren’t very juicy.
- Almond flour: The popular alternative to wheat flour is gluten-free and has a mildly sweet, nutty flavor, which makes it great for baking. Freshly ground almonds join it to give the loaves some bite.
- Baking powder: The leavening agent helps achieve a light, fluffy texture and tender crumb. Without it, each clementine loaf would be pretty dense.
- Eggs: Eggs provide lift and structure to the dessert while also contributing to moisture.
- Vanilla eggnog: This is my special ingredient, and it has such an impact on this recipe. Not only does it add richness and delicious aroma to each clementine loaf, but it makes the bread SO moist.
How to Make a Clementine Loaf
- Boil the fruit: Place the clementines in a pot, cover them with water, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and leave the fruits to sit in the boiling water for a couple of hours. Boiling activates their flavorful oils and softens the fruit so they blend up into a silky smooth puree.
- Blend them up: After they’ve had time to sit in hot water, drain and transfer the clementines to a blender or food processor and run it until smooth. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to halve or quarter the fruits.
- Prepare the batter: Whisk the dry ingredients in the bowl, pour in the puree, then add the remaining wet ingredients, including the vanilla eggnog.
- Bake: Divide the batter between two loaf pans lined with parchment paper and bake the clementine loaves.
- Make the glaze: As the bread bakes, mix the glaze ingredients until smooth.
- Candy clementine slices: Add thin slices of clementine to boiling sugar and water until soft.
- Finishing touches: After each clementine loaf has had time to cool, glaze, and decorate with candied clementine slices.
Variations, Substitutions, and Cooking Tips
Add spices – Numerous spices pair well with clementines, including cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, to name a few. These additions are a great way to play up the holiday vibe of this dessert.
Add lemon – As mentioned, clementines are rather sweet, so a tart, tangy citrus (like lemon) will bring another citrusy layer of flavor to the cake and further brighten the flavor profile.
Give mix-ins a try – Fresh berries would be so good here, as would chopped white chocolate. Since this recipe yields two clementine loaves, leave one as is and experiment with the second so you have two variations.
Butter before parchment – This helps the parchment stick to the pan, which makes lining so much easier and allows for clean edges. Additionally, it creates a nice nonstick layer for contact points.
What Are Clementines?
Clementines are a type of mandarin orange that is smaller and easier to peel. They are a hybrid of mandarins and sweet oranges. Their small size, almost perfectly round shape, thin skin, and honey-like sweetness distinguish these citrus fruits from others.
- 8 clementines
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 3 cups ground almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder, heaping
- 1/2 cup vanilla eggnog
- 3 clementines, thinly sliced
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbs clementine juice
- In a medium-sized pot, add the clementines and cover completely with water. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 2 hours.
- Once cooked add to a food processor (or blender) and blend until just smooth. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the rest of the clementine loaf ingredients (including the blended clementines) and mix until just combined.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Butter and line two bread pans with parchment paper, and divide the bread mixture between the two.
- Bake for about 45-60 minutes (If the top begins to brown too soon, simply cover with aluminum foil and continue baking).
- While the loaves are baking make the candied clementines by adding the thinly sliced clementines to the sugar and water mixture and bring to a simmer and cook until soft (about 25 minutes).
- To make the glaze, add the powdered sugar and clementine juice in a small bowl and mix until smooth.
- Remove the loaves from the oven, and top with the glaze and candied clementines.
If you want to freeze the bread for later, don't top with the glaze or candied clementines and it should last in the freezer for about a month.
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