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Italian Lemon Cake

This Italian lemon pound cake is a recipe that I'd had my eye on for a long time. I finally made it back in April! I skipped adding frosting but if you visit the original recipe it'll tell you how to make it. The glaze needed a lot more lemon juice than the recipe called for. I used 5 tablespoons of lemon juice and it was still very thick. The cake itself isn’t very lemony so you really do need either the glaze or the frosting to bring the lemon flavour to this recipe. I'm not complaining though, it was still really delicious! Italian Lemon Cake Adapted from My Recipe Confessions Makes 1 Cake Ingredients For the Cake 3 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened 2 cups sugar 3 large eggs 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup sour cream 4 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons lemon zest 1 teaspoon vanilla For the Glaze 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 5+ tablespoons lemon juice Directions Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour a bundt or cake p

Naan Sheermal (Shirmal) - Persian Saffron Flatbread

I adapted this recipe from one that I received from my step-mother-in-law, Hajar. She didn't give measurements for the flour so I had to play around with it. I have now made this 4 times and am finally happy with the result. 

The first time I used 4 cups of flour and the oven temperature (400F) and cooking time (23 minutes) provided by Hajar. I assumed the dough needed to pull cleanly away from the sides of my bowl so I kept adding flour until that happened. My bread was delicious but a bit dry. 

The second time I made this I used a little less flour thinking that perhaps my previous batch was dry because I used too much. I also let it rise a second time after I rolled it out to see what would happen. This batch was still a little too dry and baked up very puffy from the second rising. Again, it was very delicious but it wasn't the result I was looking for. You could definitely go for a second rising if you want a puffier bread, though. 

The first 2 times I baked the bread on the rack just below the middle of the oven. You definitely want to make sure your bake on the middle rack to prevent the bottoms from cooking to quickly.

The 3rd time I decided to lower the heat and go with only one rising. Still just a little too much flour in the dough.

Here we are - the 4th batch of Naan Sheermal and I'm finally happy with the finished product! It's perfectly soft on the inside and not too thick overall.

I'm now ready to share the recipe with you!

Nooshejan (bon appetit)!

Above: My 4th batch. Excellent!

Above: Batch 1. A little dry.

Above: Batch 1 - inside.

Above: Batch 2 looks beautiful but the inside was still a little dry.

Above: Batch 2 - inside. This is the batch that I allowed to rise a second time before putting it into the oven. If you want puffier bread, go ahead and do that!

Above: Batch 3 looks great but still a bit dry. 

Above: Batch 3.

Above: Batch 4. I am happy with this!

Above: Batch 4. The dough should look like this when it's done. It's a very soft dough - adding more flour will result in dry bread as it did for me in the 3 batches before this. I promise you, once this rises it'll be less sticky and you will have bread as shown above and below.

Above: Batch 4. Delicious and perfectly soft inside!

Naan Sheermal (Shirmal) - Persian Saffron Flatbread
Makes 6 loaves

For the Dough
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup unflavoured oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons saffron water*
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
For the Egg Wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon saffron water*
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • sesame seeds and nigella seeds
  1. Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and allow to become frothy (about 10 minutes)
  2. Add milk, oil, sugar, egg, salt and saffron water and stir to combine.
  3. Add flour 1 cup at a time by hand or on low speed. The dough will become thicker but will be sticky. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Do not leave your mixer unattended or it may hop off the counter. The dough will not come off the sides and form a perfectly clean ball - see image of dough above. If your dough does form a clean ball, you've added too much flour. You can still bake it, it just won't be as soft inside. Stop at 3 cups even if you don't think it looks like enough - it is.
  4. Lightly dust a clean dish with flour and transfer your sticky ball of dough. Cover with plastic and a clean towel and place in the oven with the light on for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F (remember to remove your bowl of dough first) and line a few baking sheets with parchment.
  6. Punch the dough down and cut into 6 pieces.
  7. Roll each piece to about 3/4" thick. It can be round or oval - it doesn't matter. Whatever shape you like.
  8. Place the rolled dough onto the lined baking sheets and poke holes all over with a fork. 
  9. Combine egg yolk, saffron water and sweetener with a fork and brush over the dough. 
  10. Sprinkle with sesame and nigella seeds. You may cover and allow to rise at this point for another 30 minutes if you want puffier bread.
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms become golden. Ensure the rack is placed in the middle of your oven so the bottoms don't burn.
  12. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze for longer.
  • Serve this bread with a drizzle of honey or even some Nutella.
  • *Make saffron water but dissolving a few pinches of crushed saffron threads in hot water. I keep some in a jar in the fridge for a few days because I use it often. To do this, place 1/2 teaspoon of crushed saffron in the jar with 5 or 6 ice cubes. Leave it in the fridge. The ice will melt and you'll be left with beautiful saffron water.


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