Ahhhh what a lovely taste of spring we had here in Minnesota today. It had been predicted all week to be in the high fifties today but still I almost couldn’t believe that it was happening. It’s like I thought some cruel trick was being played on us and we were actually going to wake up to single digits again. Alas, spring finally made it’s appearance!
Now that it feels like spring, we can actually cook with spring ingredients and not feel weird about it! Bring on all of the lemon foods! And asparagus. And peas. And jelly beans. Jelly beans are in season right now, right?
Since I have a serious infatuation with lemon and coconut, I decided to incorporate the flavors into our breakfast on Saturday morning. Specifically, I incorporated them into pull-apart bread. Have you seen the wonders of pull-apart bread floating around the interwebs? I like to describe it as a sweet dough, like cinnamon rolls, with a sugary filling, like cinnamon rolls, and a glaze, like cinnamon rolls. So, I guess they’re like cinnamon rolls. Baked in a bread loaf pan. And you pull apart the flaky layers. It’s incredible.
The main lemon flavor comes from the lemon sugar that is sandwiched between the layers of the flaky and sweet bread, along with some shredded coconut. I loved the sweet and fresh lemony flavor from the filling, along with the chewiness and coconut flavor from the shredded coconut. I also added a little for of almond extract to the dough, because I absolutely love the flavor of almond and thought it would work nicely in this dough (it did!), but you could definitely add coconut extract too. Either would be fine, or you could even do just all vanilla extract.
To top it off, the icing is made of coconut milk and lemon juice, to seal the lemon and coconut deal. It’s a light icing, and not overpowering, which adds a touch of sweetness but really lets the dough and filling shine through.
We devoured an embarrassing amount of this loaf of pull apart bread for breakfast before giving the rest to a fellow coconut lover, Marc’s mom. Word is, she had no problem finishing hers, either 🙂
lemon & coconut pull-apart bread
for the dough:
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast 1 package
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup milk I used whole but you could use 2% or 1%
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond or coconut extract
- 2 eggs at room temperature
for the lemon coconut filling:
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup white sugar
- zest of 3 lemons
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
for the lemon coconut icing:
- 2-3 tbsp coconut milk
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3-1/2 cup powdered sugar
To make the dough:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir well to combine.
- Melt milk and butter over low heat in a small pot on the stove until melted.
- Add water, vanilla, and almond/coconut extract and let cool until temperature is 120-130F degrees. Mine was 125 degrees immediately after I added the water.
- Pour milk and butter mixture over flour mixture and stir with spatula, mixing to combine.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined. The dough might look a bit separated at times, but it will all come together, trust me!
- At this point you can use a stand mixer with dough hook attachment to add the remaining flour, adding 1/2 cup at first and then remaining 1/4 cup, kneading until smooth.
- Continue kneading for another minute.
- Place dough in large greased bowl and place in a warm spot to let rise for 1 hour, or until it's about double in size.
- Deflate the dough. At this point you can place it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it (so you can do this the night before) or just continue on.
- In a small bowl, rub the sugar for the filling with the lemon zest.
- Stir in the coconut, and set aside.
- Lightly grease or line a 9x5" loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging off the edge. Set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough forming a large rectangle that is approximately 12"x20". It doesn't need to be exact.
- With the rectangle horizontal, brush the melted butter (from the filling ingredients) over the rolled out dough.
- Now, cut the dough into six ~3" wide strips.
- Sprinkle the lemon-coconut sugar mixture down the middle of each strip. Be generous with the filling...the more the better!
- Now, lay all of the strips on top of each other, forming a stack of the six strips.
- Cut the stack of strips into 4-5 equal sections.
- Now, take each stack and place into the prepared loaf pan, as shown in the middle picture. You may have to zig zag your stacks to get them all to fit.
- Cover and let rise for another 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until top is golden brown.
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Once cool, remove from pan.
Make the icing:
- Combine coconut milk, lemon juice, and powdered sugar.
- Whisk until well combined. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, add more coconut milk.
- Drizzle over warm pull apart bread.
- Pull apart and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Hungry Girl Por Vida