Hi, friends! I’m sure this is far from the only zucchini bread recipe to pop up in your feeds, but I insist on sharing it anyway. The zucchini plants are not usually familiar with the concept of too much zucchini, so I’ll take it as a sign that there is no such a thing as too many zucchini bread recipes.
The thing is…. this year I actually have a shortage of zucchini. Last year I planted two plants, two plants that were on a serious mission to take over the garden. This year I did the logical thing and planted one. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for the reproductive patterns of squash (zucchini = summer squash) and now I’m left with a wimpy little guy that occasionally decides to make me a zucchini.
If you’re not familiar with squash sex, let me explain…
Each plant has both male and female flowers. If you twist your mind the right way, you may be able to spot physical resemblances to reproductive organs that you’re more familiar with, in the flower, but I’ll leave that up to you and google to decide.
When a beautiful yellow bell-shaped flower opens up, be it a male or a female, it lures the bees (and other pollinators) to come in for a delicious snack.
If you’re lucky to have an abundance of pollinators in the garden, you can spot flowers full of them dancing around the pollen/nectar buffet. I counted 5 once…what a party! The pollinators will move from flower to flower and inadvertently transfer pollen between them. The real magic happens when boy pollen is transferred to the girl flower…bow chicka wow wow….(sorry!).
Surprise! The mini-zucchini at the base of the girl flower will swell and continue to develop into a full grown zucchini (sometimes overgrown, if you leave it on for too long), and if it doesn’t get pollinated, it dries up and falls off.
But what happens if there are only boy flowers at the party? Or only girls?
It’s still a fabulous party, don’t get me wrong, but at the end of the night, the bees are all pollen-drunk, but there are no zucchini. Since a flower will only stay open for a short period of time (less than a day), by the time the girls open up, the boys are gone, and vice versa.
My problem this year is that the poor things haven’t been able to coordinate. When you have multiple plants within a reasonable bee-travelling distance, the bees are happy to dance between the different plants, increasing chances of pollination, but when you only have one, you rely on the one plant bringing both the boys and the girls to the party, at the same time, and that, unfortunately, has rarely been happening.
So why am I making zucchini bread? Well…let’s just say that last summer I made ALL the zucchini bread, and I was really looking forward to going back to one of my favourite recipes. It was one made with olive oil, fresh rosemary, orange zest, and pecans. It was light and moist at the same time, simple, yet full of interesting and complex flavours.
I could leave it at that, of course, and send you over to Food52 for the original recipe, but my job is to take it in a new direction – a different recipe, adapted from from Food52 one, but one taking advantage of the fresh black currants I recently brought home from my parents’ garden, and one inspired by the recent discovery of using fresh mint in dessert. There are a lot of big girl flavours going on here, be warned.
I hope that you’ll get the chance to either try my recipe or the original one from Food52. Or maybe you’ll try all the zucchini bread recipes on the internet, if you’re so lucky to have a heterosexual zucchini party in your own garden. One thing I will insist on, however, is that you try the black currant whipped cream. I’ve never had anything like it before and it’s truly magical.
Happy July :)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup plain full-fat yogurt
- 1/3 cup olive oil + more for oiling the pan
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- zest from half a lemon
- 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves + more for garnish
- 1.5 cups of flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup shredded zucchini
- 1/2 cup black currants + more for garnish
- 1/2 cup black currants
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy (35%) whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine eggs, yogurt, oil, sugar, lemon zest, and mint in a blender and blend until combined, and the mint is almost completely broken down (almost like a smoothie). I used a Blendtec, but I assume you can achieve this with any blender.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.
- Fold in the wet mixture until fully combined, then gently fold in the shredded zucchini and black currants, taking care not to over mix the batter.
- Oil a loaf pan and pour in the batter.
- Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour. The Food52 recipe was pretty certain about the 1 hour mark, but mine came out a little earlier.
- While the cake is baking, start preparing the black currant whipped cream. In a small sauce pan, combine the currants and sugar and cook over low heat, muddling the currants to release the juices. Once the mixture starts looking dark and syrupy (about 5 minutes), remove it from the heat and pass through a strainer, using the muddler or the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much juice as possible.
- Bonus Recipe: Put the black currant skins into a small jar, cover with vodka, mix/shake well, and place in the fridge for a week. Strain it before sipping on the most delicious vodka you've ever had. I'm not much of a vodka drinker, but this stuff no joke.
- Back to the whipped cream....cool the black currant syrup completely. The last thing you want to do is mix whipped cream with anything even remotely warm.
- Once the cake is baked and cooled and the black currant syrup is at room temperature, whip up the cream until soft peaks form, drizzle in the syrup, and continue whipping, just until combined.
- Serve the cake with the whip on the side and garnish with fresh black currants and mint.
You can substitute frozen black currants. If you're in the Toronto/GTA area, you may be able to find them in Eastern European supermarkets.
Try substituting lemon verbena for the mint! It's a little more subtle and also delicious.