Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lemons + Poppyseeds = Love!

"Do you know the land where the lemon-trees flower?"
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When life gives you lemons...CELEBRATE! In addition to lemonade, these little fruits make some delightfully sweet and tasty treats! Like Lemon Poppyseed Bread, for example.

In preparation for the lecture and signing this Thursday, I made 2 of these wonderful loaves tonight. I'm making them early because it is best to let them sit for a day or so after applying the lemon syrup at the end. This will allow the syrup to really soak the bread and get all that lemony goodness spread around so that every single bite is tangy and mouthwatering!

Lemon Poppyseed Loaf

A little prep work is necessary before beginning. First, preheat your oven to 350. Make sure your rack is on the middle setting. Then grease and flour an 8"x4" loaf pan (or what I find to be much easier is to just spray the pan with non-stick spray and then flour it). Then take a small piece of parchment and cover the bottom of the pan. Grease and flour the parchment and set the pan aside.
Next, grate the peal of:
1 fresh lemon
You'll need about 1 T worth of zest. Remember - yellow part only, no white! After you zest the lemon, cut it in half and squeeze the juice. You will need 1/4 cup. Set the juice aside.
In a small to medium sized bowl, whisk together:
3 large eggs
1-1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 c milk
Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together:
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 c granulated sugar
3 T poppy seeds
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
lemon zest
When sifted together well, add half the egg mixture with:
13 T butter, softened
Mix on low speed until blended, then increase speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the rest of the egg mixture and beat for another minute. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. About 5 minutes before bread is done, combine in a small saucepan:
lemon juice
1/3 c sugar
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and simmer until the sugar completely dissolves. Set aside until bread is removed from the oven. Bread is finished when the top of the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the loaf from the oven and poke several holes through the top with a wooden skewer or long toothpick. Pour about half of the lemon syrup over the top. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then invert the pan onto a wire rack (be sure to grease it first!). Using a pastry brush, apply the rest of the syrup to the bottom and sides of the loaf. Flip the loaf back over right side up and allow to cool completely before wrapping in wax paper. Like I said, it's best to let the loaf sit at least overnight, if not a full 24 hours.

The dangerous thing about this recipe is that it's so damned good and it's so easy to make! Bake it in the evening and have it with coffee the following day for brunch! Luckily, my wife Kat has more self-control and keeps me in line or I would be a lot bigger than I am!

Bon Appetit!

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